US Navy Yard: Police give all clear

2015-07-02 16:57
Police tell members of the media to move. (AP)

Police tell members of the media to move. (AP)

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Washington - Authorities issued an "all clear" after reports of a possible shooter at the US Navy Yard in Washington on Thursday touched off an hours-long lockdown at the military facility.

Police found no evidence of a shooter at the facility a short distance south of the US Capitol, a Washington police department spokesperson said about two hours after initial reports emerged.

The spokesperson said the police investigation was concluded and subsequent inquiries would be done by Navy authorities, who had placed the facility on lockdown at about 07:45 EDT (11:45 GMT).

Police responded to the report amid heightened security concerns ahead of the US July Fourth holiday weekend and in the wake of a 2013 shooting at the military complex that killed 12 people.

No further details were immediately available about the incident at the Navy Yard, which is about 4km from the White House.

A caller told authorities that shots were heard in the Navy Yard's Building 197, according to multiple reports, the same one that was the scene of the 2013 killings by Aaron Alexis, a former sailor who was working for a government technology contractor at the Navy Yard.

Lieutenant Commander Scott Williams, 39, a guided missile engineer at the Navy Yard, was in the building on Thursday and the day of the 2013 shooting.

He told Reuters that police came to his office at about 07:30 EDT (11:30 GMT) and escorted him and colleagues out.

"It was pretty much a mirror image of what happened in 2013," he said. "Here we go again."

Williams said security had been tightened after the 2013 shootings with more ID checks and random bag searches.

Live television showed a massive police presence in the area, and more than eight blocks of nearby roads were shut down as authorities responded to the scene, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued an alert calling for local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats during the holiday weekend. 

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