WASHINGTON DC—Law enforcement officials confirmed at a press conference on Thursday morning that no evidence of a shooter has been found at the DC Navy Yard. The Navy Yard remained on lockdown during the press conference.
“We’re grateful at this point that we have found no shooter, evidence of shooting, or any victims,” D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser said during the conference.
Federal and municipal authorities responded rapidly and in great force to a 911 call from the offices of the Navy Yard around 7:30 this morning.
After performing one search of the facilities, security personnel found no evidence of a shooter. At the time of the press conference, a second search of Building 197, one of the buildings a shooter was reportedly hiding in, was underway.
“We do not believe this was a malicious hoax,” D.C. Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier said during the conference, citing an interview with the woman who made the initial phone call.
Although there has been speculation that the woman may have heard noises from a nearby construction site and mistook it for gunshots, officials refused to confirm or speculate themselves.
They did, however, praise the caller’s actions, saying that reporting anything suspicious is precisely what Navy Yard employees are trained to do.
The specter of the 2013 shooting at the Navy Yard hung over the press conference, with several reporters asking if that incident taught federal and D.C. law enforcement and security personnel any lessons they applied on Thursday.
That shooting killed 13 and injured eight. To a certain extent, law enforcement was criticized for a slow response time.
In a joint interview with the local News Channel 8, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine praised the changes law enforcement made in the wake of the last incident.
“The good news is that the response was very quick, unlike in 2013,” Mendelson said.
“I think excellent execution does not happen by accident. It happens through practice and planning, which doesn’t always get reported,” Racine said.
Police Chief Lanier was very clear, however, that this was a standard response to a reported active shooter incident, and that those who live and work in the District should feel confident about the government’s ability to respond to any potential threats.
“I think we have seen a clear, convincing response to a potential threat today,” Mayor Bowser also said. “It should be very clear that law enforcement are prepared to respond to any potential incidents… both on the National Mall and in D.C. neighborhoods.”