Lamenting a "Senseless Act of Terror" While Praising the Response

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

As law enforcement agencies, under the leadership of the FBI, continued a full-scale investigation into a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning, observers from President Obama to leaders of federal labor unions mourned those killed in the attack.

In due time, Obama said Monday, the nation will turn its attention to the federal employees who were victims of the shooting.

“We will honor their service to the nation they helped to make great,” Obama said.

Obama noted that the shooting "targeted our military and civilian personnel.  These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us. They’re patriots, and they know the dangers of serving abroad -- but today, they faced unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home."

"This is a tragic day for the Department of Defense, the national capital area, and the nation," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this outrageous act of violence, their families, and all those affected by today's events.  I am grateful for the swift response of federal and local law enforcement, and for the professionalism of DoD personnel at the Navy Yard complex."

Attorney General Eric Holder said "the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Department of Justice are with the victims of this heinous attack, and their families. We also extend our sincerest gratitude to the local and federal law enforcement agents in our nation’s capital who bravely responded to the scene and prevented this tragedy from claiming even more lives."

American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr., said, “Today’s shooting at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters is a tragic reminder of the violent world in which we live. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the employees and families affected by the shooting and to the police, emergency and rescue workers who bravely responded to the scene.”

AFGE represents hundreds of employees at the Navy Yard.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said the days events "are a vivid reminder that the safety and security of military and civilian federal employees should be a priority at federal buildings and installations across the country. Many federal workers become unwitting targets simply because they have chosen to work in public service."

"NTEU’s thoughts go out to those injured or killed today as well as to their families, Kelley added. "These dedicated federal employees were simply serving their country and we owe them our respect and gratitude."

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers President Gregory Junemann issued a statement reading, in part: “As a union [which] represents workers at public shipyards throughout the nation, as well as other [Naval Sea Systems Command] locations, we are all deeply saddened by the loss of life, and for those who have been wounded today at the hands of this senseless act of terror."

The Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund, and organization that provides financial assistance to federal employees in need, including after tragedies, is poised to help federal workers and their families affected by the shooting. “We won't know exactly what our response will be until we know who the victims are, but it is likely we will try to offer help to the families of deceased or injured civilian feds,” said Robyn Kehoe, director of field operations at FEAA.

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