Witnesses: Only one shooter in Navy Yard rampage

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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A Navy Yard employee who was on the staircase near the second floor at the time of Monday’s shooting told The Daily Caller that he does not suspect multiple gunmen.

“I didn’t think that there was,” this ear-witness responded when asked about reports of additional gunmen. The man is the second person inside the building during the shooting who doubted the idea of multiple shooters.

Another worker who was inside the building during the shooting told The Daily Caller that the shots she heard, which she believed to be coming from a shotgun, sounded like the work of one gunman — who has now been identified by police as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis.

The first witness, who was positioned in the building below the shooting and who declined to give his name to reporters, didn’t get “any kind of indication that there was more than one.”

“I did hear someone running,” he said. “In the building that I am, it’s an old hangar…When you walk sometimes, the floor bounces…I heard someone really running fast towards the end of the building, which is the opposite of M street.”

The man only heard one person running.

Navy Yard Shooting. Grae Stafford/TheDC

“But I didn’t hear anybody say ‘oh’ or nothing,” he said, noting that he was expecting to hear a woman’s shrill screams or some other kind of human interaction in response to gunshots.

The scene remained chaotic Monday afternoon as low-flying helicopters continue to circle the area where 13 people are now reported dead. Police detectives and, later, federal agents, congregated in a taped-off area concentrated around 700 M Street Southeast. The crime scene has drawn a host of cops from many agencies.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents arrived at the scene at approximately 11:45 AM, armoring up and fastening themselves with bullet-proof vests before joining D.C. police on M Street patrolling the roped-off area, which encompasses numerous buildings and rooftops.

The Navy Yard covers wide area, with many bystanders and evacuees. Navy Yard employees were sent to Nationals Stadium nearby to be reunited with family members.

Navy Yard Shooting. Grae Stafford/TheDC

Children were let out of a side door of Eagle Academy Public Charter School, located directly next door to the primary police and ATF buildup. School officials, who had been nervously monitoring the situation through windows prior to releasing the children, escorted the kids out.

“No questions” one administrator shouted as she opened the doors.

Police parked outside the Port Cafe hollered at the kids, some of whom initially wandered into a roped-off block, and pointed them in a safer direction.

The Navy Yard employee who believed the attacker acted alone remained relatively calm during the crisis. Tensions ran high as the employees made their way down the street, with an argument breaking out between two employees and a shout of “How about being a little more considerate, asshole?”

“It sounded like a .22 to me,” said the witness. “I went in the front door, the main gate, the main door, and went up and badged in, which of course you all have to badge in…It’s high security. If you don’t have a cat card, which is common access card, you can’t get into the building…It’s highly secure,” the man said.

At least one television report claimed that Alexis used a former employee’s card to gain access to the building.

Navy Yard Shooting. Grae Stafford/TheDC

“I went up the steps to go to the second floor, which is my floor,” said the witness. “And as I walked to the top of the steps, I heard what I thought was a locker door slam…I didn’t hear the ‘oh.’ Nobody commented, ‘you okay, you okay?’ Nothing.”

The man reported that two fellow employees were “spooked.”

“The next thing I know, I hear a couple more shots,” he said. “I didn’t know they were shots, and I’m thinking, ‘Okay, it’s probably shots, I need to get out.'” He said felt like an “open target” as he went downstairs, exited the building, and went across the street. He later composed himself and assisted others.

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