Updated 9:42 am through 6 pm EDT
At least 12 people died today at the hands of a gunman in what the president sadly terms “another mass shooting:”
The Washington morning opened with news flashes of a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, where the gunman, later identified by the FBI as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old Navy veteran, was shot and killed by police.
“We are confronting yet another mass shooting,” President Barack Obama said, calling the military members affected by the shootings “patriots.” He said “whoever carried out this cowardly act” will be held responsible.
“We don’t know what the motive is,” Washington Mayor Vincent Gray told reporters.
The Navy Yard shooting, reported at around 8:15 a.m., marked the deadliest mass killing in the U.S. since the shooting of 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school in December. The shooter killed himself. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded in a November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas. Army Major Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death last month in that case.
The White House called off a performance celebrating Hispanic Music at the White House tonight. The Washington Nationals postponed their baseball game this evening at their stadium near the Navy Yard.
At the Washington Hospital Center, a spokeswoman said at a late-morning news conference, one Washington police officer and two civilians were being treated for gunshot wounds. The male officer suffered gunshot wounds to his legs, one woman suffered a wound to her head and hand and a second woman was shot in the shoulder. All three were in critical condition yet expected to survive, spokeswoman Janis Orlowski said, who also said there are reports of an unspecified number of fatalities at the Navy Yard. The police chief later said the officer was in stable condition.
The primary source of the initial breaking news on the shooting: Twitter.
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) September 16, 2013
Police and the FBI converged on the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters on the Anacostia River, at a building where 3,000 people work, according to the Navy.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 16, 2013
— Martin Bashir (@BashirLive) September 16, 2013
And this photo from a congressional staffer:
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) September 16, 2013
The Washington Post reports that a D.C. police officer was among those shot.
— ron corning (@roncorning) September 16, 2013
The White House said Obama had been briefed “several times about the unfolding situation at the Washington Navy Yard by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromanaco. The President directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials.”
The mayor said: “We don’t have any reason at this stage to suspect terrorism.”