Navy confirms everything ‘all clear’ at Walter Reed

The Navy confirmed that everything is “all clear” at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where many employees have been sheltering in place in response to an unconfirmed report this morning of a single gunshot heard.

By early afternoon, law enforcement officials reported that they had no evidence that a shooting had occurred and that they were beginning to slowly evacuate Walter Reed employees.

“It’s important to note that there are no injuries that have been reported to the police or law enforcement agencies here, and there’s no indication of any kind that there was a shooting,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery County Police spokesman during a 1 p.m. press briefing.

MCP reported on Twitter at 1:30 p.m.: “Polices operations are complete, there is no evidence of a firearm discharge. Normal operations are expected to resume soon.”

The initial report of a single shot being fired has not been confirmed by Montgomery County Police. MCP reported on Twitter that they responded “out of an abundance of caution” to assist their federal partners.

Walter Reed Medical Center
Walter Reed Medical Center

MCP Spokeswoman Matasha Plotnikov told the Associated Press that a 911 caller reported hearing a shot in Building 1, which is the original  hospital on the campus.

Starks said the 911 call came from someone on the ground floor of the main building at Walter Reed.  He confirmed that the police had interviewed the individual who made the 911 call.

During a press briefing shortly after 1 p.m., Starks said rescue personnel were on stand down and that employees were being advised to stay sheltering in place.

“The complaint was pinpointed to the high-rise, the 20-story building on campus,” he said.

Rescue personnel were searching the building floor-to-floor, office-to-office.

“As they come across employees, they’ll be escorted safely from the building,” he said. “Once that search is concluded, then canines trained in the detection of explosive devices will be deployed throughout that building to ensure that there is not a device.”

He added that this action was being done out of an abundance of caution.

“We have to do our due-diligence,” he said. “While we are here, we’re going to check that threat out.”

The Navy confirmed in an 11:45 a.m. release that Naval Support Activity Bethesda was on lock down and personnel were sheltering in place “as a result of unconfirmed reports of an active shooter.”

The press release said responders to the scene included the DoD Security Force, NIH Police Force, Montgomery County EMS and medics.

The Navy reported on Twitter that non-emergency patient care at Walter Reed is suspended for the day.

MCP said that as of 1:30 p.m.,  the search of Walter Reed building 1 was completed. One northbound lane and two southbound lanes of traffic on Rockville Pike were open for traffic.

The Montgomery County Highway Services said that the Medical Center/NIH Metro Station is open and no delays are reported.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is working with first responders and police, MCHS said on Twitter. Buses are standing by on the campus in case they are needed to transport employees away from Walter Reed.

Federal News Radio’s sister station WTOP is live blogging about this developing story.

This story will be updated as more details become available.

 

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