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A sailor standing watch on the destroyer Mahan shot and killed a civilian who had gained access to the pier late Monday night, after the man shot a member of the naval security force on the pier, according to a military official familiar with the incident reports.
The male civilian gained access to Naval Station Norfolk with proper credentials while driving a tractor-trailer onto base Monday and then gained access to Pier 1, which has a watch stander who checks IDs, the source said.
The struggle began just after 11 p.m. when the quarterdeck watch noticed the man behaving erratically. He was confronted by watch standers and a struggle ensued. The man stripped the gun from the petty officer of the watch and shot the chief of the guard who was rushing to the scene.
The man was subsequently shot and killed by the roving watch stander on Mahan, according to the source, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly amid an ongoing investigation.
With the investigation underway, on only chiefs, officers and duty section reported to the Mahan Tuesday. Officials are determined to get to the bottom of the incident, including uncovering the alleged shooter’s motivation and assessing whether base security needs to be tightened in some aspects.
“We will find out what happened and prevent that from occurring again,” said Adm. Bill Gortney, the head of Fleet Forces Command, in a speech at a forum Tuesday. Gortney asked the audience for a moment of silence for the sailor and his family, who are in “intense pain,” Gortney said.
Officials plan to release the names of the deceased after their families have been notified.
Base leaders temporarily put the naval station in lockdown after the shooting as a precaution but operations are continuing as normal except at Pier 1.
Officials at Naval Station Norfork did not immediately respond to calls or emails for comment Tuesday.
Grief counselors are on hand to help Mahan sailors and families, the Navy said.