At least 13 people died after a gunman opened fire around 8 a.m. Monday at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., police said. The suspected shooter identified by the FBI as Aaron Alexis, a military contractor who lived in Fort Worth, is among the 13 reported dead.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier initially announced authorities were searching for two other suspects dressed in military style-clothing, one of whom was located and cleared shortly after. The other suspect is described by Lanier as a black man in his 40s with gray sideburns, The Washington Post reported.
The shootings took place about a half a mile south of Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government in D.C. Annie Shuey, a junior in the College of Communication and student at Les Aspin, said she heard about the shooting at close to 10 a.m. while walking to class.
“I was really shocked,” Shuey said. “It was kind of surreal. At first I didn’t understand how close it was.”
Christopher Murray, coordinator of student affairs at the Les Aspin Center, said none of the students were working in the city at the time of the shooting and were in class at the time.
“The Aspin Center has procedures in place to ensure that students’ locations are known, including when they are in their internships, and that allows the Aspin Center staff to be in close contact with them in the event of an emergency,” Murray said in an email.
Although no student in the current class is interning near the Navy Yard, Brian Kane, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and a student at Les Aspin, said he noticed that security greatly increased in the city.
“There was security, SWAT and capitol police all over the place,” said Kane, who walked a couple blocks short of the Navy Yard for lunch.
“It (was) scary knowing that the suspect (was) on the loose, but security was walking down the street with weapons everywhere,” Kane said. “The area we’re in is a very safe neighborhood. We’re all glued to the TV to see the updates.”
Kane said he and the other students were contacted by family members in the morning. Shuey said her mother texted her the message: “Shooter in D.C. Stay inside.”
Cassie Smedile, a 2007 Marquette alumna who works as the communication director in the office of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), said that other than increased security, the city seems to be normal.
“I felt OK walking from Union Station to the House,” Smedile said. “Maybe it was a false sense of security because we really just don’t know everything yet.”
The Senate was put on lockdown as a result of the shooting. The House of Representatives, however, was not closed, as it was not in session.
Marquette University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz issued the following statement regarding the shooting on the university’s website:
“Our university community has the victims of this tragedy, their families and all of the people of our nation’s capital in our hearts and prayers today. This tragic event and the brave efforts to respond to it only deepen our appreciation for the men and women in both the military and law enforcement who protect our safety and freedom.”