Navy: False Shooting Threat ‘New Reality’ for U.S.

Navy shooting false alarm (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)
Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press

Reports of an active shooter at Navy Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) on Tuesday morning were followed by indications from two Navy spokesmen that the initial report was a false alarm, in what one called a “new reality…for the whole country.”

During a Tuesday 10:30 a.m. press conference, Captain Jose Acosta, Commanding Officer at NMCSD, was asked whether the possibility of a shooter false alarm is a new reality for military life.

Acosta responded:

I think it’s soon a reality for the entire country and we’re neighbors and we’re partners and we have to train and be ready. So I think it’s not only a new reality for us in the military, but for the whole country.

Early Tuesday morning one person called in a report of what that person believed to be three shots fired in NMCSD building 26. NMCSD posted online an alert that included the instruction, “All occupants are advised to run, hide or fight.”

First responders flooded into the area based on the report. After an initial sweep of the building there were no reports of any injuries or evidence of a shooting. Law enforcement kept a secure perimeter around the hospital during the sweeps of the medical center.

Captain Curt Jones, Commanding Officer, Naval Base San Diego said at the morning press conference:

As you’re aware, we’ve had reports, and I’d like to emphasize the word reports, of shots fired earlier this morning. Just prior to 08:00 we had a single report of three shots fired in building 26. Since that time we have done a number of clearing sweeps of the building and as of this time we have found nothing which substantiates those reports. We are continuing to clear the building and to ensure that there are no casualties, that there’s nothing that’s not quite right in the building. And as of right now we have found absolutely nothing that indicates that there were any shots fired. There are no casualties at this time.

Asked how he would characterize the shooter reports, Jones replied:

I would characterize it as someone who thought they heard something and made reports at which time we took the appropriate steps that we take when we have a report along those lines.

Asked if anything else could have made noises that sound like shots, Jones replied:

We are investigating now as to what might have caused it. Our priority is to ensure that all personnel both in that building and at this part of the compound are safe and secure.

Jones told reporters that the person that reported the event was in the building and reported hearing what that person believed to be three gunshots. He stated that all leads were investigated.

Jones said the building has a number of functions, including barracks, wounded warriors facilities, a gymnasium and medical administration offices.

When asked about the reported“run, hide and fight” instruction, Jones said:

We train all the employees, both active duty and civil servants, that are part of the Navy, to go do those three things in that order. In fact, in the next couple of weeks we’ll be going through Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield and the emphasis in that is active shooter training and a drill.

Asked how well he thought it worked out, Jones said all the appropriate actions had been taken.

“Our focus is building 26,” Jones said in response to clearing of the area.

Three nearby San Diego schools were placed on lockdown in the aftermath of the active shooter report, but were taken off lockdown within a couple of hours.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana