United States President Barack Obama reacted Monday to news of a mass-shooting at the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington D.C, which has killed at least twelve people.
“We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in the nation’s capital,” Obama said.
Those who were targeted knew the dangers of battle abroad, but “today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home,” he said.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible,” he vowed.
A tweet from the White House stated, “’These are men & women were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us.’ – President Obama on the victims of the #NavyYardShooting.”
Four people were reported dead shortly after the attacks. The U.S. Navy has now confirmed that 11 people were killed in the shooting, while Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray mentioned "at least twelve fatalities."
Several people remain in serious condition with gunshot wounds.
The exact number of fatalities and injuries has not yet been confirmed.
There were conflicting reports as to how many gunmen were involved in the attacks. Original witness accounts suggested three attackers. One shooter has been killed, identified as 34 year-old Aaron Alexis, who recently began work at the Navy yard as a civilian contractor.
A second shooter is reportedly “contained” but not yet in custody.
One shooter was described by witnesses as a tall, African-American man, while another - now believed to be Alexis - was described as a white man wearing a khaki shirt and military-style beret.
Two US media outlets released tweets identifying one of the shooters, but later retracted their statements.
Witnesses to the attack expressed surprise that the shooters, who were armed with rifles, had gained access to the secure building. All workers must present ID on entrance, and visitors must obtain a security clearance, they said.
Roughly 3,000 people work in the compound that was attacked. Most managed to evacuate shortly after the shooting began with the help of security guards.
Several nearby schools were put under lockdown during the attack. A statement from the DC Public Schools via Twitter said, “When MPD advises that #navyyardshooting is resolved, we will lift the school lockdown.”