Men in shooting at NSA had gone to hotel to party

2015-03-31 21:27
(Patrick Semansky, AP)

(Patrick Semansky, AP)

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Fort Meade - Two cross-dressing men who were shot at by National Security Agency police when they disobeyed orders at a heavily guarded gate were driving a car they had just stolen from a man who picked them up to "party" in a nearby motel, police said.

One suspect was killed on Monday and the other was injured, along with an NSA police officer.

The SUV's owner, who has not been publicly identified, arrived around 07:30 at the nearby Terrace Motel with the two suspects, both strangers he had picked up in Baltimore, according to Howard County police spokeswoman Mary Phelan.

Phelan told The Associated Press on Monday that she "can't confirm there was any sexual activity involved", and declined to elaborate on whether drugs or alcohol were part of their "party".

About an hour after checking in to a room, the SUV owner told police he went to the bathroom, and when he came out, the others were gone, along with his car keys. He called police to report the stolen car, and minutes later, just before 09:00, the men took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.

The FBI said on Monday that agents do not believe terrorism was their motive. No one has explained yet why the men ended up outside the NSA. However, the new timeline suggests they may have simply taken a wrong turn while fleeing the motel, about 12 minutes away.

It's not uncommon for drivers to take the wrong exit and end up at the tightly secured gates of Fort Meade, which also is home to the Defense Information Systems Agency and the US Cyber Command. About 11 000 military personnel and about 29 000 civilian employees with security clearances work on the property.

Most drivers carefully follow the orders of heavily armed federal officers and turn around without getting into more trouble. In this case, authorities say the men ignored instructions on how to leave, and ended up stuck behind barriers. Police ordered them to stop, and then things escalated quickly.

"The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus," Jonathan Freed, an NSA spokesperson, said in a statement. The vehicle failed to stop, then "accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle blocking the road. NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop. The unauthorised vehicle crashed into the NSA Police vehicle."

The FBI declined to comment on the conditions of the surviving suspect and officer, except to say they were being treated at a local hospital. They also haven't said how the man driving the stolen car died.

It's not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer's command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. That man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.

Read more on:    nsa  |  us

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