Police respond to the crime scene at the US Navy command center in Washington on Monday.© AFP 2013/ Saul Loeb
This image provided by the FBI shows Aaron Alexis, 34, who is believed to be responsible for the shooting.© AFP 2013/ FBI
The Navy Yard is a sprawling administrative center that is home to numerous US Navy command headquarters.© AFP 2013/ Saul Loeb
One command center is responsible for building, purchasing and maintaining subs and ships in the US naval fleet.© AFP 2013/ Paul J. Richards
previous update posted at 21:05
WASHINGTON, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – At least 13 people were killed and several others wounded after a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a US Navy administrative center in Washington on Monday, officials said, in an attack that sparked panic in the American capital.
The suspected gunman was among the confirmed dead in the morning assault at the Washington Navy Yard about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from the White House, Washington police chief Cathy Lanier told reporters at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Lanier said at an earlier news conference that two potential shooters were still at large, but officials later said one of the men had been found and cleared of any involvement in the attack. Authorities were still looking for another potential shooter, whom Lanier described as wearing a “military-style” uniform, as of Monday afternoon.
US President Barack Obama on Monday said that he had been briefed about the attack, and he alluded to the numerous mass shootings that have been carried out in US schools, workplaces and entertainment venues in recent decades.
“We still don’t know all the facts, but we do know that several people have been shot and some have been killed,” Obama said. “We are confronting yet another mass shooting and today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital.”
Authorities have identified the suspected gunman as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a civilian contractor from Fort Worth, Texas, NBC News reported, though a motive for the attack was not immediately clear.
Washington Mayor Vincent Gray said authorities have no reason to believe the shooting was an act of terrorism, but added that he could not rule out this possibility, The Washington Post reported.
The Navy said on its Twitter feed that three shots were fired at 8:20 a.m. (1220 GMT) inside its Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, which is responsible for building, purchasing and maintaining submarines and ships in America’s naval fleet. Around 3,000 people work in the building, the Navy said.
Alexis’ identification was recovered next to his body in the command headquarters, NBC News said.
Helicopters patrolled the skies of Washington on Monday morning as hundreds of police and rescue teams converged on the Navy Yard in southeastern Washington after reports of the attack began to surface.
Washington, meanwhile, scrambled to lockdown schools and government offices, including the US Senate buildings, though Capitol Hill security officials said the Senate lockdown was a precautionary measure and that there is no “information to suggest the Senate, its members or staff are in any danger,” the Post reported.
The Washington Nationals, a professional baseball team that plays at a stadium near the Navy Yard, postponed their Monday night game following the shooting, USA Today reported.
Monday’s assault was the second shooting rampage on a US domestic military installation over the past four years. On Nov. 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire in a crowded waiting room at a medical processing center filled with troops at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.
That attack left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded. A US military jury last month sentenced Hasan to death after he admitted he was the gunman.
Hasan, a US-born Muslim, indicated in media leaks and statements to the judge in the case that he believed the attack was justified in order to protect Muslim and Taliban leaders from US forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Updated with higher confirmed death toll, name of suspected shooter, the status of potential other shooters, additional security measures in Washington, comments from Gray, and details throughout.
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