Navy Yard captain: ‘Bullets flew over our heads’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON – Some Navy Yard employees who were present at the time of the shooting were allowed to leave the premises around 3 p.m. after being in lock-down in a building on the Navy Yard for several hours following a shooting this morning.

Navy Captain Mark Vandroff, who works on non-nuclear ship procurement, was in a conference room on the third floor of building 197 “a little before 9 a.m.” morning when he heard gunfire.

“Bullets flew over our heads,” he said.

He was working on a presentation with his team, and they barricaded themselves in the room.

“I’m afraid that we did more damage to the furniture than [the gunman] trying to barricade ourselves in. We flipped over tables, we were flipping over chairs, we may have done some damage,” he said.

“Most of that hour was taken up trying to gather information about where other people in my organization had sheltered and passing that on to my chain of command,” he said.

By 10 a.m., he said, the police had come to get them.

They were first moved to another building on the Yard called the Admiral Gooding Center. Then they were moved into the conference room of another adjacent building.

Vandroff said the police kept a group of around 150 people who had been in Building 197 together, and then “went through witness statements.”

Since being evacuated from 197, they were just in conference rooms with the police. He said that they were not permitted to leave, but they were no longer treating it like an active shooting scene.

“They made sure we had food and water and a chance to go to the bathroom,” he said.

Civilian contractor for the Navy Jordan Norquist told reporters that for the past several hours, they were just “sitting around.”

Asked how he felt about what had happened, Norquist, who said he spent the past year in Afghanistan, seemed nonplussed.

“Oh,” he said, “it’s part of living in Washington.”

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