By Jeremy Herb - 09/16/13 05:25 PM EDT
Patricia Ward was getting breakfast on Monday morning at the Navy Yard cafeteria when she heard the gunshots.
“There were three gunshots, straight in a row: Pop, pop, pop,” said Ward, a civilian who works on the base.
When the shots stopped, a security guard told her and the others in the cafeteria to get out. “She told us all to just run. Get away as far as you can,” Ward told reporters afterward on M Street, which was shut down to traffic and filled with police cars.
The shooting started at about 8:20 a.m., which left at least four dead and 8 wounded, locked down the Navy Yard complex and the surrounding area.
Employees in buildings nearby were held in lockdown and told to stay away from the windows.
Those on the outside were told to shelter in place and could not enter. Local businesses in the area were closed.
Jeff Bowman, a contractor from Bedford, Va., had commuted in at 3 a.m. He was waiting on M Street to see if he could get back inside. Bowman, who works for AEDI as an architect, said he'd been on the other side, too: He was inside the Pentagon when it was hit on 9/11 and was there for two days.
Tina Washington, who has worked for the Department of Transportation for 37 years, went outside for a smoke break at about 8:15 a.m. She was still outside at 1 p.m., as the DOT building outside the Navy Yard was also locked down.
Washington couldn't go home because her keys and phone were inside.