Initial response to Navy Yard shooting bungled, report shows

Initial response to Navy Yard shooting bungled, report shows
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District of Columbia police officers first on the scene to the Washington Navy Yard shooting were hindered because they couldn’t access live camera footage of military contractor Aaron Alexis carrying out his rampage, according to a new report.

Over the course of 69 minutes, Alexis killed 12 civilian workers at the Navy Yard’s Building 197 last September before he was fatally shot by police.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s “after-action” report states the contract security guard tasked with monitoring 160 surveillance feed locked the door to the control room and didn’t contact law enforcement.

In addition, officers were delayed getting to the scene because some Navy Yard employees called an internal emergency communication numbers instead of 911, which enacted emergency protocols that locked the gates to the area.

Once on site, police and other emergency responders used a variety of different radio channels, adding further confusion, the 82-page report obtained by the Washington Post shows.

The study also detailed equipment challenges facing officers, including some who searched the narrow halls of Building 197 with long rifles, and how using radios instead of earpieces could have allowed responders to hear where the gunshots were being fired over the din of emergency vehicles in the area.

The report does praise the nearly 120 officers who responded from a myriad of local and federal agencies to the shooting, though it took them to task for not coordinating better. The report also recommends roughly 75 steps law enforcement officials can take to improve the response to such events.

"The actions and decisions of that day were made, often in a split second, in a dynamic and extraordinary environment under extreme duress, facing a multitude of unforeseen challenges and dangers, without the benefit of hindsight," the report states.