tv wusa 9 News at Noon CBS July 6, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT
now being broadcast. >> this is only a test. >> reporter: interesting. they are saying this is only a test. we don't know if this is perhaps a drill. i would find it extremely unlikely that they would do a drill of this magnitude but again, sensitivity in washington and across the country -- [ no audio ] >> andrea was saying we heard only a test. there she is again. we got her signal back. rockville pike is shut down to traffic between jones bridge road and cedar lane. chopper trying overhead. i'm very baffled by that last message. throughout the last hour, we've been hearing a broadcast of shelter in place. shelter in place. do not leave until there's an all clear given.
just that one simple message of this is a test perhaps and i would suspect this is only a test of the broadcast network here. that's all i can imagine at this point. >> looking through the fence, you don't see any pedestrian traffic. you don't see any kind of hustling or people running to one location or another. like i said i do know the campus a bit from several visits here. we don't know which building -- wait a minute. i can see what appears to be -- james -- i'm with james hash. straight ahead about 1:00, it looks like perhaps a s.w.a.t. team in line going in. you can see from what i'm seeing just outside the walter reed fence about a dozen geared
up. i also see from the walter reed entrance federal agencies represented here. montgomery county police as you've been reporting had sent extra officers as backup. there is a fire department presence here as well. virtually every agent on hand to help. crossing the street on south drive where there is also a metro station and a kiss and ride parking lot, i am seeing people one by one walking across the street being escorted by police. if this is a drill and i suspect it is not, there is quite a presence. you can see the police helicopter hovering right over walter reed. and now i can see -- james, at about 9:00, can i see from my
vantage point -- that hill may be blocking you -- employees wearing badges in a line walking out of the facility. i don't see police escort. they don't have their hands up. they're just walking as if they have been told to head out. right now i see a second group, i believe photo journalist james hash is on them. james, to me it looks like they have a police escort. it's navy security personnel that's leading this group of employees out. i suspect they're searching floor by floor, building by building. i can't imagine how tense it is inside because i cannot think of a place, perhaps the white house or the pentagon where the security is as extush yatingly -- excruciatingly tight as it is here. i don't want to divulge secrets of walter reed medical center but i can tell you from person experience -- personal experience that they are well
prepared for people who do not have the best of intentions headed here. again you see a chopper overhead. i'm watching that one building to see what looks like employees being led out. i'm going to see if i can get a hold of a campus map to further elaborate on which employees might be in there. i'm fairly comfort they are employees based on their badges that they're wearing. obviously there are many patients there who may not be in a position of being evacuated. again more police presence headed here. i'm looking both ways on rockville pike. we have a police cruiser that's shown up there. i can't tell if it is a county or one of the federal agencies that's backing up. virtually every few minutes we're hearing more sirens. i'm looking out to jones bridge road. there appears there's activity around the corner.
our team our walking that way now. we'll see what they find and be sure to bring that back you to. i'm seeing somebody run toward the front entrance right now headed to the gentleman with the white shirt on, headed to the main entrance of walter reed. i also see a union formed police officer -- a uniformed police officer headed to the front door. obviously from our vantage point, all we can tell you is the last we heard was for all employees on this sprawling 243- acre comprehensive campus of multiple medical and military facilities, including services for veterans to shelter in place and not to leave their offices or their positions until an all clear is given. i can tell you we have not heard an all clear. we did hear for a moment an announcement this is a test
once again based on the activity now i can only imagine that was a test of the broadcasting system. right now i see employees and press being moved across from the main entrance toward where the metro station is along with the park and ride. there is no chaos here. it is very orderly. again a simple report and a report only of a single shot fired here at walter reed national military medical center. i'm going to send it back to you and see what i can do, talk to some sources and rome about -- roam about the exterior of the campus to see what i can learn. for now i'll send it back to you unless you have some specific questions. >> we'll let you get back to work, andrea. excellent report giving us a perspective of what else is on that campus from your own
personal knowledge. >> as we have just crossed into the noon hour, we want to get you up to speed just in case you're just now joining us. nick giovanni alongside andrea roane. at 10:40 this morning or just thereafter, federal agencies along with montgomery county police responded to a report of one shot heard on the campus of the walter reed national military center. since then we've seen over the last hour and a half at this point crews, all of those crews responding right now. we have seen an increased police presence as you heard andrea mention. we heard just about 30 minutes ago sirens surrounding for the first time alerting everyone to a code white instructing employees to shelter there in place. employees that were on their way to work left outside posted outside the gate. >> the code white also went to their phones and they had -- [ audio difficulties ] >> code white meant active shooter. again, no confirmation of an active shooter. we have several reporters and
crews on the scene. let's go to nikki burdine who is along rockville pike right now. nikki, can you hear us? >> reporter: yes, can i hear you. we're still on rockville pike in the same spot. i want you to look right now. it's like a ghost town on rockville pike. there are no cars. no people. all the pedestrians and media crew stationed outside the gate, they've all been moved across the street to where we are. we're huddled up along rockville pike. no one allowed on either side. we saw police turning a lot of vehicles around. all those people coming here to go to work, they were told to leave. they just crossed the street and headed out the other way. we have not heard the sirens go off the past five minutes but we have an update that came from the navy support in bethesda. they're currently on lockdown and all base personnel are sheltering in place asa result of unconfirmed reports of an active security.
n.i.h. police force because they're right across the street from walter reed. they are all here as a result of this alert. they have all responded and they're all searching this area. again no confirmation still even though it's been over an hour now since we first heard this report of a shooter here at walter reed campus. but this is the only thing that we can tell you right now is that there were reports of a single gunshot that happened here this morning. we have not confirmed that police are still on standby. no doubt searching through this massive facility here. as soon as we get confirmation on who has happened there if anything, we'll bring that along to you. >> nikki, we appreciate that report. and really the action we are seeing right now is an evacuation it would seem with andrea mccarren standing by. >> some people we saw did have their hands raised. we have a phoner.
i believe it's rachel bracket. rachel, are you there? rachel, can you hear us? >> yes, i can. you can hear me? >> yes, we can hear you. where are you there now? you work at the facility, don't you? >> yes, ma'am, i do. >> where are you now? >> i am in building 17. >> did you get this alert? has anyone come to escort you out of building 17? >> no. >> what's going on? how do you feel? >> i'm very nervous. >> are you there alone? >> no, i'm here with about 15 others. >> and you are civilian employees, rngts you? >> yes -- aren't you? >> yes. >> do you feel you know what you're supposed to be doing? did you get the code white alert telling you to shelter in place? >> yes, i did receive a text message and shortly after they did call and sent e-mails. >> can you take us through what's happening now on your
end? >> well, we are all in a secured building right now and we're behind a locked office at this present time. >> have you had any further e- mail contact with anyone since the first alert went out? >> yes, they are e-mailing us giving us code white active shooter, shelter if place. >> when did you arrive at work? >> at 6:30. >> everything was normal till then. did you hear any shot fired? did you hear anyone talking about a shot fired? >> no, i did not, but about 10:30, 10:45 i was hearing these weird noises outside. we didn't know what they were. i did ask someone what the noises were but no one knew. >> we understand that personnel are trained and they know what the drill is. do you feel you were well trained for what is happening now? you knew what procedures to take? >> not really.
i think we could do a little bit better. >> what do you mean? how can they do a little bit better? what would you like to know if this ever happened again? >> take us through some exercises and explain things to us and let us know what we need to do, where we need to go and how we need to respond to things when this happens. >> are you a little scared, rachel? >> i am very scared, yes. >> we just heard from the outside the sirens obviously sounding and followed up with a message saying "this is only a test." was that the message you're hearing? is that the latest you're hear something. >> we have not heard that as of yet. we heard there was an active shooter in building one. >> as far as what you're hearing code white is where it stands right now. >> yes, sir, that's where it stands. >> you said you heard of an active shooter in building one and you're in building 17. does that mean you're anywhere close? >> yes, we're -- yes, we're in the far back. >> so in the far back so you're not near building one. >> no, we're not.
>> even if there was a shot heard, would you not have heard it. >> no. >> how are the other 14 people in the room with you? >> they're very scared, too. >> but you're all hanging in there together? >> we're all hanging together. we're just watching out for each other. >> exactly. if your family and friends are heavy raining, they know that you -- are listening, they know that you are safe. that's something comforting to them. i know they will be glad to hear that. >> yes, they are fine. they are keeping in touch with me via text. >> the u.s. navy just tweeted out again security as you well know searching buildings but still no confirmation of an incident at this point. >> that's good hear. >> you also have another relative who works in the facility. is she in building 17 with you as well? >> she is in the main hospital. she works in building 10. she's up that way. >> she's up that way but still not right next to building one where a lot of the activity is
going on. >> no, she's not near building one. >> she's all right or has she-- >> she is all right. >> is she still sheltered in place? >> yes, ma'am. she's still sheltered as we. i just talked to her 15 minutes ago via text. >> rachel, we're so glad you're doing all right. i know you're nervous. i know you're scared but thank you for speaking with us and give our best to everyone else who is there. as soon as they're able to get you to, i know that will happen and let us know, please. >> thank you so much. >> you're welcome. again, if you're just joining us, we have crews on the scene gathering information. we're also following this unfolding on social media. we want to check in with our web producer who has the latest on that front. what are you seeing? >> reporter: we're seeing a ton of tweets from an employee inside the building. she says shelter in place, active shooter still hiding. another picture. she's in the dark. i was looking at eve's twitter feed and she's detailing the situation she's been in, has
been in the same place where the photo, what we're seeing. here's another tweet from ebby. she said we're on total lockdown here at walter reed. she says this is beyond scary. hobby they're just being cautious. here's one more for aj. he said they just had somebody shooting at the walter reed. we have to remember this is not confirmed. this is just a tweet we're seeing. got us locked in. so we'll continue to monitor social media. we're seeing hundreds of tweets coming in. walter reed is the top trend and i'll keep track of those. >> we appreciate t. the first picture painted that picture right now of a scene right now with employees on edge as we just heard from one employee there. >> she works in building 17. she says she's not close to building one where they were hearing that there was a report of an active shooter. again, we cannot confirm a shooting. we cannot confirm any injuries are anything of that nature but they have been sheltering in place since about 10:40 when
the white -- the code white came to all of them. she had been work since 6:30. she didn't hear anything. they got the information about the potential issue through a text message and then a phone call. she and 15 others in her office. they work in credentialing. they credential all the doctors, check to make sure they are who they are, their licenses and degrees are legitimate. she feels that they could have been a little better trained. they are members of the civilian force. the military people know what's going on but she would have lovered a little bit more training for -- loved a little bit more training for something like this. >> she did mention at 10:45, she did hear, quote, weird noises outside but again still working to confirm exactly what those noises may have been. >> she did hear that something may have been going on in building one. she's in 17. x is in the back, -- which is in the back, not near building one but still the weird noises.
we think rachel bracket for getting in touch with us and hope she remains safe until they come and get them out. >> to fast forward basically an hour and a half now from when this first started unfolding, we have several agencies on the scene. department of defense, n.i.h., montgomery county police department, all forming a perimeter and clearing the perimeter as we have seen. really there was a backup around the entrance to this facility at walter reed national military medical center moments ago. >> we've heard from nikki and others that traffic in the area from jones bridge to cedar lane is just blocked but we also want to let you know stoneridge of sacred heart is nearby right next door to the campus and they are on lockdown for the summer session. so stoneridge school, the sacred heart which is right next door to the medical center is also on lockdown. students are there in place and safe until they get the all clear. >> we want to go back to the scene as we continue our team coverage of this incident right
now. nikki burdine live us for. nikki, what are you seeing now? >> reporter: very quiet. we haven't seen a lot of movement in the past 5 to 10 minutes. we are on team coverage. i want to bring in reporter garrett. you have no information for us. >> reporter: i just got off the phone with the f.b.i. spokesperson with the baltimore field office. they told me they have to agents down here more or less all the time in a command post. they have not been asked by any of the law enforcement agencies that are present here to bring in any additional resources. the spokesperson i talked to seemed to take as a good sign they are not being asked to bring any additional investigative resources of any kind to help with what they know so far. we were down at the gate just before they moved us out. we saw three separate groups what appeared to be evacuating, being led out from the pain complex. first a group of doctors and medical personnel in white lab
coats. then several other groups, office workers essentially, about a dozen to 20 at a time. the most activity, though, has been above. the helicopters were asked to look on roofs to see if they saw anyone up there. as you've seen we're really stuck back here. the most activity we can tell seems to be happening in the air. >> reporter: what did the doctors and employees look like? >> reporter: it was fairly calm. the first group in particular, it was almost hard to tell if they were being evacuated or going out for a lunch break or something. it was a calm, orderly group of people sort of evenly spaced out. they weren't bunked, didn't appear to -- bunched, didn't appear to be hurried. i didn't not see hands raised. we were kempt at a distance. -- kept at a distance. i'm cure questions to know -- cure questions to know if folks are -- curious to know if folks have been moved out.
>> reporter: garrett was across the street right next to the gate and then they told you you had to move over here. did they tell you why? >> reporter: no. it came suddenly. we had been there a better part of an hour talking to employees who are waiting to get back inside. they were getting the same information about this code white, a report of a possible shooting. some people were waiting for their medical appointments thinking this was going to be a minor inconvenience. about the time the second group of people was being evac yaitded or -- evacuated out of the building or being moved, we were told to move quite suddenly by sheriff's deputies. we saw more law enforcement going n. we saw the road completely closed off and within a matter of five minutes, what was a healthy crowd of about several dozen, maybe 50, 60 people over there completely moved back across the street. >> reporter: i talked to a few people who walked across the street. i said what are you doing? they said they won't tell us anything. we were waiting. i had annual appointment at 1:00, one at 12:30. that's not going to happen. i'm going home. is that what you heard?
>> reporter: we heard pretty much the same thing. they do drill for these. i'm going to interrupt for a second. we just had three buses, montgomery county transit buses come down the street behind us here all without of service or special service instructions on them on a road that is otherwise completely closed. we're speculating about what might have happened to those employees who were moved out of the building earlier. i imagine the buses are probably related to that effort to get people out of this facility. >> reporter: were there anybody on the buses? >> reporter: completely empty without of service or special service lit up on their marquees. >> reporter: looks like everyone, itself press included -- the press included, in a a holding pattern. we're hopeful for the best thinking about what happened last week at the navy yard and
ended up being just a drill -- not a drill but a false alarm. we're obviously hoping for that. we don't know what's going on in there so we're waiting on information. as soon as we get that, we'll pass it along you to. garrett and i will be here all day long and keep you updated. back to you in the studio. >> nikki burdine and garrett, they've been there almost there since this incident began around 10:40 this morning. the code white went out to staffers and then 10:viii, montgomery county police responded to help their partners in the federal agency investigating reports of a shot heard. we heard sirens being sounded letting people know to shelter and stay in place. and that's where we are right now seeing people being escorted out of the building. some with their hands up, some walking casually out but with the police escort as they go floor to floor, building to building to see if there is anyone inside who is posing a
threat. >> again, the scene remains very active. you can see different agencies making their way around the grounds right now checking this 243-acre campus on site there at the walter reed national military medical center. we do understand we have andrea mccarren standing by for us live from just outside the facility. andrea? >> reporter: we do not have as good a vantage point. i can still see police activity, rockville pike between jones bridge and cedar lane completely shut down. i'm trying to isolate where the police activity is on this campus. just to sort of get a sense. you can imagine the difficulty in this evacuation. as i reported earlier, there are multiple entities on this
facility on this sprawling 243- acre campus. if you take a look at the main tower, that is the walter reed national military medical center. that facility alone has 8500 employees. if you look straight across, will you see the national center for -- the national intrepid center of excellence where there is traumatic brain injury and ptsd research and treatment. off to the right, you will have the navy lodge, the uso, a px where military families and personnel can buy their supplies. there's also farther back on the property is fisher house. that's where families of those most severely wounded will be residing while they wait for their wounded warrior to heal.
you're talking about a lot of facilities, the american red cross, uso all on this sprawling campus, all of them told to shelter in place. we are seeing multiple reports and hearing from a couple ever sources that the initial call at 10:48 a.m. came from building one. reporting an active shooter or one shot fired. then the facility went into what is known as code white. that is the code for an active shooter. and requires an immediate sheltering in place. we have heard multiple announcements on loud speaker that employees are to remain in lockdown, to shelter in their offices until there is an all clear given. there has not been an unclear. but i can tell you there is a tremendous police response here. every federal, state and local
agency that i have ever seen on the scene of a situation is out here. we've heard intermittently some alarms going off. in my 30 years in the d.c. area, very never heard that from this facility. i know the retired navy man mr. cast, fritz cast said there had been a bomb scare in the past but i have never heard and i live in the area, those alarms going off. again there is heightened sensitivity, especially in d.c. but across the country due to our ongoing threats from isis. president obama at 4:00 today unless it is rescheduled is due to speak at the pentagon. is he likely to speak about the 16 air strikes over the holiday weekend on syrian isis targets. again from this vantage point, i can see activity. i wish i were a little bit taller and a little bit closer but i don't see any sense of chaos. again, it is an unconfirmed
report of a shot fired. there have been many waves of employees escorted by police out ofthe building. i've seen them walking in a line in a very calm, organized fashion. i know from our colleagues at wusa9 that have been monitoring the helicopter shot, they are seeing some employees escorted out with their hands up. that is not what i see on the front ever the building which -- of the building which makes me believe there is not any imminent threat on the front along rockville pike. and again i reiterated some of the other parts of this campus and the other offices there. i can see what appears to be medical personnel. i say that because they're wearing white lab coats. they're either researchers or medical personnel walking out of that building that we a short time ago when we were on the other side of the street, i reported seeing what appeared to be some type of a s.w.a.t.
team, a special response team wearing black, well armed going into the building that you can see directly behind me. i'd say it's about six stories. we've seen personnel led out of there. we have also seen people led from the main gate on rockville pike between jones bridge and cedar lane escorted across the street to south drive which is where the metro is, which is where there is a kiss and ride parking lot. we're really in a holding pattern. [ no audio ] [ stand by for captions ] [ captioners transitioning ]
>> i do see an emergency vehicle, two of them now, going toward the front, but that's what i can see. obviously i can't give you any more insights into that. back to you. >> andrea, we got the sense from our interview inside of the building, some of that sense of urgency and tension righted now was stemming from the fact that some of the employees didn't feel like they perhaps had received the same kind of drill. >> but they did tell us that people are constantly in contact with them, either by phone or via e-mail. so they're not stranded out there. this was building 17 where we were speaking to someone who was there with 14 of her colleagues. >> our crews will gather more information. definitely wanted to follow up
on one thing andrea had mentioned talking with the interview about the interview with former base commander fritz katz. looking back, a former shooting happened in 2007, a security officer pulled a handgun, fired 10 shots at a fellow guard. back at that situation. >> the first since 2012 and the america building. i remember reading that. let's go to nikki burdine. >> reporter: i'm standing in this same spot along rockville pike. we haven't seen a lot of movement out here on rockville pike. however, these two montgomery county sheriffs vehicles moved up blocking this entrance. since we last spoke we saw those two metro buss driving by, no other vehicles have come through here at all. in fact, the only people who are standing here on the sidewalk outside walter reed are media and
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