WASHINGTON (AP) — A military base in the nation’s capital was locked down for about an hour-and-a-half Friday, after an armed man ran onto the grounds during a local police investigation of gunshots on the streets surrounding the base.
An armed individual was detained after he gained unauthorized access to the base shortly after noon, officials said in a statement.
The individual, who is not being identified, gained access near a housing section of the base, officials said. The intrusion was reported to the Base Defense Operation Center, and a firearm was discovered on the installation shortly after.
“The individual was detained at approximately 2:45 p.m. following a thorough sweep of the installation,” officials said.
The 11th Security Forces Squadron and Metropolitan Police Department responded quickly to the situation. A number of other civilian and military agencies on and off base prepared to assist with the response, as needed.
“I’m incredibly impressed with our 11th Security Forces Squadron teammates, and I’m very grateful for the partnerships we have with the Metropolitan Police Department, Naval District of Washington Military Working Dog Section, U.S. Secret Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a handful of other partners,” said Col. Mike Zuhlsdorf, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and 11th Wing commander, in a statement. “They ensured a thorough and coordinated response to maintain the safety and security of our installation and the JBAB Family. I remain confident in our security posture on the installation and our security procedures executed by the 11th Security Forces Squadron in coordination with our joint and civilian partners.”
The individual does not appear to have any association with the installation at this time. He was transferred into the custody of MPD.
The incident remains under investigation. Additional information will be released as it becomes available, base officials said.
Earlier in the day, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling posted a note on its Facebook page saying the person was spotted on the south side of the installation. The naval support facility at the north end of the base is used by Marine Helicopter Squadron One, the fleet of green helicopters that carry the president and vice president.
The lockdown was lifted around 3 p.m. and cars slowly started moving on and off the base. No injuries were immediately reported. Officials at one point said they were looking for two people, but a later report said only one person was at large.
The 905-acre base in southeast Washington houses Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard units, along with the Washington field office of the NCIS and the headquarters of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The installation is in an area that occasionally has local police activity nearby.
Over the years there have been a few incidents where that activity filtered onto the base, including one where a suspect being sought by police scaled a fence and was taken into custody by Defense Department authorities.
The lockdown caused a brief panic.
“If you encounter the individual and have a safe route, RUN,” base officials posted on Facebook in the first moments of the lockdown. “If you do not have a safe route to run, HIDE. Barricade your door, turn off the lights and your cell phone ringer, and remain silent. If you are hiding, prepare to FIGHT.”
Just last week, a Pentagon police officer was stabbed to death after a burst of violence at a transit center outside the building. A suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene. After that violence, the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown.
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.