'Gunman' at Washington Navy Yard a false alarm
A false alarm about a possible shooter at the US Navy Yard in Washington yesterday rattled nerves amid heightened security for potential domestic threats ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend.
A report of a possible gunman, which was later determined to be unfounded, touched off an hours-long lockdown starting about 7.45am local time at the military facility just a mile south of the US Capitol and three miles from President Obama's White House. The Navy Yard was the site of a 2013 shooting that left 12 dead.
"An employee thought they heard something of concern, they made a call," said Chief Cathy Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.
The call was placed from inside the Navsea Command Building around 7.29am and was relayed to the city's police force, she said.
"We don't believe that it was a malicious hoax or incident like that," Lanier said.
Police responded with a massive presence, temporarily shutting down more than eight blocks of nearby roads.
"When we talk to our residents and visitors who want to celebrate Independence Day in the District of Columbia, it should be very clear to everybody that we take clear and credible threats or calls from our citizens and employees very, very seriously," Lanier said.
The incident shook an already tense public as security measures surrounding the national holiday have been tightened to combat possible domestic attacks tied to Isil.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued an alert calling for local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats over the long weekend.
The initial call to authorities reported that shots were heard in the Navy Yard's Building 197, according to reports.