At least one heavily armed gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard killing at least 11 people and injuring at least 12.
Named as 34-year-old civilian contractor Aaron Alexis, the Fort Worth resident entered the cafeteria in the Washington military base brandishing an AR-15 rifle, shotgun and handgun and began shooting.
The FBI have said that Aaron Alexis died after launching his rampage, during which witnesses said he appeared to fire at selected targets and not randomly, but they have not disclosed how he perished.
Washington D.C.’s FBI field office reportedly said that they have “all assets out” as they search for one other possible shooter they described as a black man in his 40s or his 50s.
Washington D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier said the other potential gunman were wearing a military-style uniform and has greying sideburns.
“It appears that we have at least 12 fatalities … it doesn’t get much more serious than that, obviously,” said Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.
“We have no known motive at this stage. We will continue the investigation to try and figure out what that motive is.”
Previously, Cathy Lanier said that law enforcement were searching for two individuals, one white and one black.
However, police have said they have identified the white individual and he’s not a suspect or person of interest.
“The big concern for us right now is that we have potentially two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Cathy Lanier said earlier this afternoon.
Witnesses reported one man described as an African-American male in his 50s dressed in military fatigues and armed with an AR-15 assault rifle opening fire upon entering the base at the Naval Sea System Command HQ.
The attacks came three days after al-Qaeda used the 12th anniversary of 9/11 to call for strikes on America.
Hundreds of SWAT and FBI rapid response units descended on the nation’s capital to deal with the situation which unfolded just before 8.30 a.m. this morning.
Initial reports from the scene are that one of the suspects walked up to the facility, opened fire and then ran inside the building.
“There was three gunshots straight in a row,” said Patricia Ward, who works at the Navy Yard, describing how she first heard the gunfire while having breakfast at the headquarters building.
A few seconds later, Patricia Ward said she heard four more gunshots. Security guards rushed in and got people out as fast as they could.
NBC News, citing a senior naval officer at the Navy Yard, said at least 12 people had been shot.
“We saw him hold the rifle, and we saw him aim it in our direction,” said one witness to Fox News.
Another Navy official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said more than one gunman may have been involved. The Washington Post reported that there were several gunmen.
The Navy said in a statement the shooting took place at the heavily guarded headquarters, where about 3,000 people work.
The shooting hit the military establishment less than three week after U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death for murdering 13 people in 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas, where he gunned down unarmed soldiers in what he later called retaliation for U.S. wars in Muslim countries.
The Navy Yard is believed to have tight security.
Visitors without military ID must have a valid reason for entry and provide some other civilian identification.
The gates are protected by U.S. Marines and civilian security guards.
The National Museum of the U.S. Navy is in the grounds of the Navy Yard – and open to the public. However, they must show ID to enter.
One victim was reported to have been shot on the roof of a building, reported News4′s Tony Tull.
A U.S. Park Police helicopter lowered a basket to a building and lifted what appeared to be a shooting victim from the roof just before 10 a.m.