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Base pass could have allowed gunman access into Navy Yard

September 16, 2013|By David Cloud and Richard Serrano

How could a gunman bring a weapon onto a heavily guarded military base such as the Washington Navy Yard?

If the shooter had a valid Navy base pass, bringing one or more guns into the Navy Yard would not be difficult, Navy officials said.

At the Navy Yard, a 41-acre installation with multiple buildings along southeast Washington’s Anacostia River front, military personnel and contractors can gain access to the grounds without being searched as long as they possess a valid pass, according to two Navy officials.

Additional security checks are required to get into specific buildings, including at Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where Monday’s shootings took place. But anyone with a valid pass can enter without being searched, unless the base is on heightened security, the officials said.

WHO THEY WERE: Navy Yard shooting victims

A federal law enforcement supervisor briefed on the Navy Yard investigation said an official Navy employee ID card was found near the scene of the shootings but that it apparently does not match the identity of the person they believe was the shooter. Rather, he said, the card belonged to a different individual who was “let go or transferred” from his job recently.

The official stressed that the picture on the ID card does not appear to match the alleged gunman, who was shot in a gun battle with police and “died en route to the hospital.” The “operating theory” in the case is that only one shooter was involved, the official said, adding that “we haven’t found a terror nexus.”

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s non-voting representative in Congress, told reporters that the shooter or shooters would have needed a government identification card to get into the building: “They were in a secure building within a security facility,” she said.

“There’s no indication that this was a terrorist event,” she added, echoing an assessment made by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

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