Pentagon says report of active shooter at Walter Reed medical center was a drill
Conflicting reports from different parts of the military caused confusion over what exactly happened at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Tuesday following a report of an active shooter.
The Department of Defense said Tuesday afternoon that there was no active shooter at Walter Reed and that reports of a shooter at the center were part of an exercise.
Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Audricia Harris told CNN just after 3:15 p.m. ET Tuesday that the situation at Walter Reed was an exercise.
The US Navy said via Twitter that it had confirmed there was no active shooter.
“Was an ad hoc drill by tenant command,” the Navy tweeted.
However, the local military agency involved — Naval Support Activity Bethesda — contradicted that statement later Tuesday afternoon.
“Around 2 p.m. today, Tuesday, Nov. 27, a call came into security at NSA Bethesda with the report of an active shooter situation in the basement of Bldg. 19 at Walter Reed Bethesda,” the agency’s Facebook post stated. “Security responded and cleared the building, finding no indication of an active shooter. After investigating the call and the origin, NSA Bethesda has determined that this was a false alarm and not part of a scheduled drill as has been reported.”
The confusion first started when the Montgomery County Police Department’s press office said it had received a call to assist on a report of an active shooter at Walter Reed.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, had tweeted about the situation from inside the center.
“I am currently at Walter Reed Medical in Bethesda where we’ve been told there is an active shooter,” Ruppersberger tweeted. “I am currently safe in a conference room w/ approx 40 others.”
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington. According to its website, Walter Reed is the nation’s largest military medical center and has “roughly 7,000 dedicated staff members.”
Two individuals separately told CNN they were inside the building at Walter Reed just before 3 p.m. Tuesday and were told to continue to shelter in place. One individual said loudspeakers announced that it was still an active situation. The other individual reported hearing lots of sirens.
A verified Facebook page for Naval Support Activity Bethesda provided updates of the incident as it unfolded.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the account noted “there is a report of an active shooter” in the basement of a building at Walter Reed. As the hour continued, the account said base security had cleared the basement and that there was “no indication so far of an active shooter.”
At 3:20 pm ET, the Facebook page was updated to say “the all clear has been given” and “no active shooter was found.”