Calls prompt lockdown at US military post

2017-06-28 15:08
Authorities block an entrance to Redstone Arsenal. (Eric Schultz, AP)

Authorities block an entrance to Redstone Arsenal. (Eric Schultz, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Huntsville - Two 911 calls and a tweet about the possibility of an active shooter at a military installation set off a day of panic and confusion in Alabama.

The emergency calls on Tuesday came from within the Redstone Arsenal base near Huntsville and led the installation to tweet a warning to its 30 000 government employees, civilians and contractors: "run hide fight".

Police cars with flashing lights rushed to the scene and blocked entrances to the post, home to Army missile defence programmes, Nasa's rocket propulsion operations and federal law enforcement agencies. Even before any gunfire was confirmed, the governor offered her prayers and social media lit up with worried friends and families talking about the lockdown.

At one point, Redstone spokesman Christopher Colster acknowledged he didn't know whether the lockdown was part of a drill or an actual threat.

In the end, an investigation found there was no active shooter and no shots were fired, garrison commander Colonel Tom Holliday said. He said authorities would continue to investigate what happened, including whether the 911 calls were part of a hoax.

"We did have initial reports of someone hearing shots fired and someone seeing a weapon. That in itself drove us to our response," he said. "I would say that the situation that we live in in the United States today leads to caution.

Rather overreact

Honestly, if we have to overreact, I would rather overreact than underreact."

He said the phrase used in the tweet - "run hide fight" - is a standard response during an active shooter situation. An active shooter drill planned for Wednesday was cancelled.

"We believe we have learned everything we needed to as part of the event today," he said, adding that the response worked as designed.

Images on social media showed an ambulance and what appeared to be civilians standing outside the Sparkman Centre, which includes offices, an auditorium, cafeteria and an interior courtyard.

Holliday said the 911 calls came from the Sparkman complex and that some people who evacuated the building needed medical attention unrelated to the 911 calls.

It took two hours to give the all-clear for the installation and another two hours to make sure the sprawling Sparkman complex was secure.

Amy Jay said her husband, who was working at the Sparkman Centre, was told the situation was over through an announcement over the building's public address system.

"Feeling like I can breathe again!" Jay wrote in a message to The Associated Press. "My husband is a contractor and a veteran so when we hear things like this we're reminded of what happened at Fort Hood," she said, referring to the 2009 shooting at a military base in Texas.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey's office said after the lockdown was lifted that she didn't know what led to the alert.

"The important thing is everybody's safe," Ivey said.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.

 
 

Paws

Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.