Just hours after a sailor aboard a guided-missile destroyer was fatally shot by a civilian, reports are surfacing regarding how he attained the weapon. The incident happened late Monday evening at the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Va.
Reports indicate an unarmed civilian who had permission to be on the base made his way aboard the USS Mahan, at which point he was confronted by a guard. A spokesperson for the base indicated a struggle ensued, and the civilian was able to disarm the security officer. He then used the firearm to shoot and kill a sailor attempting to aid the guard.
The gunman was fatally shot immediately following the encounter.
Navy officials indicate an investigation is under way, explaining the identities of those involved are being withheld until their families can be notified.
“We’ll find out what happened,” said Adm. Bill Gortney, “and we’ll prevent that from occurring again.”
Naval Station Norfolk’s commanding officer, Capt. Robert Clark, confirmed that “right now there is a great deal of information we don’t know just yet.”
Following a lockdown that lasted less than an hour, virtually all of the base’s normal functions recommenced. Twelve piers – all but the one at which the Mahan was docked – have returned to business as usual.
Despite increased security following last year’s Washington Navy Yard shooting and a recent active-shooter drill at the Norfolk base, this incident seems to prove that individuals determined to wreak havoc will typically find a way to do so. In addition to guards posted at each of the base’s entrances, each pier contains its own security force. Handheld ID scanners were recently integrated as another layer of defense.
Reports indicate the civilian was authorized to be on the base, though it is unclear if he had been cleared to board the Mahan.
[H/T Western Journalism]