A fatal shooting aboard the Norfolk-based U.S.S. Mahan has left officials at the world’s largest naval base searching for answers.
The investigation into the shooting that took place aboard the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer at 11:20 p.m. Monday continues, as the exact details remain unclear at this time.
What is known is that one civilian and one sailor assigned to the U.S.S. Mahan were killed when the civilian, who had gained access to the naval base using a civilian worker’s credentials, attempted to gain unauthorized access to the Mahan. While attempting to board, the civilian was able to disarm the Petty Officer of the Watch of his service weapon and was able to kill one of the responding sailors assigned to the ship. Naval security officers in turn killed the civilian in question.
Naval officials quickly locked down the base for a brief period as they investigated the shooting, which took place at the base’s Pier 1.
The base’s commanding officer, Capt. Robert Clark Jr., explained that to get on the base, civilians must be escorted or have identification that allows them to be there. Only authorized civilians, which include Department of Defense employees, contractors, and military family members, have access to the base. Each base entrance is guarded and motorists must present a valid ID and submit to random inspections.
The civilian of Monday night’s shooting had probably worked on the base in the past, according to Clark.
This naval shooting comes nearly six months after the mass shooting at Washington D.C.’s historic Navy Yard in which a contractor and former naval reservist killed twelve civilian workers before being killed by responding law enforcement.
The shooting aboard the Mahan also comes about a month after the Navy held anti-terrorism and force protection drills on bases around the U.S., which included active-shooter drills at Norfolk.
Norfolk Naval Station is operating normally at this time, aside from the pier where the shooting took place, where officials continue to investigate the details surrounding the shooting and security.
According to official figures, Norfolk is home to more than 60 kinds of ships, including aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and support ships, as well as over 45,000 military members and more than 20,000 civilians – government employees and contractors.