'No evidence' of shooting at Navy Yard, DC mayor says

'No evidence' of shooting at Navy Yard, DC mayor says
Source: NBC Washington
Roads are closed near the Navy Yard (Source: Twitter - Sandra Webster)
Roads are closed near the Navy Yard (Source: Twitter - Sandra Webster)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - Police have given the all-clear after responding to the Washington Navy Yard for an alleged incident Thursday morning, according to NBC Washington.

According to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, an employee reported that around 7:29 a.m., she may have heard gunshots. Police went in with federal partners to investigate.

They found no evidence of gunshots, a shooter or any victims. Bowser said she was, "proud of all officials that answered the call" and the clear, coordinated response to the scene.

Police found the person who made the original 911 call from inside the building, who reported hearing gunshots but not seeing any, and interviewed her. They do not believe the call was a malicious hoax, but they have not found any evidence of a shooting.

"This is an employee that did exactly what we ask them to do," said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

D.C. Fire and EMS sent ambulances to the scene, but found no reports of any injuries. Park Police, ATF, and Secret Service also responded to the scene. Several security sweeps have shown no signs of an active shooter and no other reports of shots heard.

Crews remained on the scene waiting for the all-clear "out of an abundance of caution." The all-clear came shortly before 10 a.m.

On Sept. 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis entered the complex with a shotgun and killed 12 civilians working there, as well as injuring three others, before being killed by police.

Alexis had worked as a subcontractor for Hewlett-Packard and was assigned to a project at the base. He was given clearance despite two prior arrests involving gunshots. He was not charged in either case.

An independent review of the shooting, published in November 2013, recommended Department of Defense contractors and employees be offered more mental healthcare and that the number of them with secret clearances be reduced.

In the wake of that mass shooting, employees at the Navy Yard were understandably shaken on Thursday.

"A little bit of deja vu," said employee Mike Hayes.

The Thursday morning alert had many fearing the worse.

"People were very upset that it would happen again," said employee Paulette Edwards.

Jean SanLuis was one of the first employees to walk out the gates after the Navy gave the all-clear signal

"A little shaken, a little tired from being stressed," she said when asked how she was doing.

SanLuis says initially a fire alarm sounded and then another alert went out around 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

"Some of the folks said come this way and they grabbed my hand and we went into this secure room," SanLuis said.

Officials say this all started when an employee called 911 after she reported hearing a loud noise, she thought were gunshots.

That's when authorities issued "shelter in place" alerts and scoured the building for any signs of trouble, but nothing was found.

"They did absolutely awesome. They did everything they were supposed to do. Lessons learned were put into place," said employee Stacey Holder, evaluating the response.

But the events of two years ago weren't far from anyone's mind:

"They're thinking they did all the building and everything new and it was supposed to erase your memory and whatever, and it didn't work," said Edwards.

D.C. city officials say they look at the false alarm as a training exercise, putting those safety measures and procedures developed after 2013's shooting to the test.

Employees NBC12 spoke with said Thursday said they saw more first responders in a shorter period of time.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.