Active shooter scare at Walter Reed was a drill, Pentagon says

An active shooter scare Tuesday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, was just a drill, Pentagon officials said.

The Navy said a unit at Walter Reed conducted an “ad hoc drill” and there was never an active shooter. An official said the unit failed to notify the proper authorities, so officials reacted as if the situation was the real thing. 

Reports of a possible active shooter emerged Tuesday afternoon, prompting a large police response and leading workers and patients to take shelter. At 2:15 p.m. ET, Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) said on Facebook there was a report of an active shooter in the basement of Building 19. The post urged people in the area to stay away or find the nearest structure, building or vehicle that “provides a measure of protection.”

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People leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on November 27, 2018. 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., tweeted he was at the scene shortly after 2:30 p.m. “We’ve been told there is an active shooter,” he wrote. “I am currently safe in a conference room with approximately 40 others.”

He later tweeted: “We’ve been given the all clear at Walter Reed — at no point was there any indication that this was a drill.”

The NSAB said security had cleared the basement and there was “no indication so far of an active shooter.” Military officials then clarified the scare was a training exercise gone awry. 

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