Report: Armed Emergency Response Team Ordered to Stand Down at Navy Yard as Shooting Started
On Wednesday, BBC News reported that an armed emergency response team arrived on site at the Washington Navy Yard within minutes of Aaron Alexis beginning his shooting spree, but was forced to stand down and was instead ordered back to Capitol Hill.
According to BBC, “A tactical response team of the Capitol police, a force that guards the US Capitol complex, was told to leave the scene by a supervisor instead of aiding municipal officers.” A Capitol Police source told the BBC, “I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that some lives may have been saved if we were allowed to intervene.”
When Alexis began shooting at approximately 8:20 AM ET, the four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT) was already near the Navy Yard. They were armed with HK-416 rifles, and were already wearing full tactical gear. They arrived at Building 197 a few minutes later. But the Washington Metropolitan Police watch commander reportedly told CERT to go back to Capitol Hill.
Capitol Police Officer Jim Konczos, the head of the police union, said, “Odds are it might have had a different outcome. It probably could have been neutralized.” A spokeswoman for the Metro PD said that the reports were “not true,” but on Wednesday, the PD said that a preliminary investigation had been opened.