By JULIO CORTEZ Associated Press
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A Navy medic shot and critically wounded two people at a Maryland business park Tuesday, then fled to a nearby Army base where he was shot and killed, police and U.S. Navy officials said.
The man entered a business at the Riverside Tech Park, causing people inside to flee, but it was unclear if the shooting took place inside or outside, Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said. Lando said detectives are still trying to determine a possible motive and what the shooter’s relationship was to his victims.
After the shooting, the medic drove about 10 minutes to Fort Detrick, where he was shot by base personnel, Lando said at a news conference. The U.S. Navy released an initial statement saying there was an “active shooter incident” at Fort Detrick “involving U.S. sailors” and that the shooter, a Navy medic assigned to the base, was killed. Lando said the man who was killed on base was the same person who shot the two people at the business park. Fort Detrick officials later confirmed that on the base’s Facebook page.
The two people who were critically wounded by the shooter were airlifted to a hospital, Lando said. A spokeswoman for Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore did not immediately respond to an email asking for an update on their conditions.
The gunman drove through a gate at an entrance to the base before military personnel confronted him on a road inside, said Fort Detrick spokeswoman Lanessa Hill.
“It wasn’t that long after he came through the gate” that the shooter was stopped, Hill said. “Not even a quarter of a mile.” She said Frederick police had given base officials advance notice, “so we knew that he was out there.”
Fort Detrick is home to the military’s flagship biological defense laboratory and several federal civilian biodefense labs. About 10,000 military personnel and civilians work on the base, which encompasses about 1,300 acres (526 hectares) in the city of Frederick.
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said the base is a huge economic driver in the region, drawing scientists, military personnel and their families to the community. O’Connor noted that various defense contractors are based near Fort Detrick and it wouldn’t be unusual for a member of the military to be off base and working with a private firm that does business with the U.S. government.
“When these incidents happen in other places, you’re always grateful that it’s not your community,” O’Connor added. “But you always know, perhaps in the back of your mind, that that’s just luck — that there isn’t any reason why it couldn’t happen here. And today it did.”
By early afternoon, the Nallin Farm gate at Fort Detrick through which the shooter entered remained closed and two officers were standing by.
Mark Nelson, a firefighter who lives in a row of townhomes across the street from the base, said he heard the base blast warning sirens Tuesday morning.
“I heard, I don’t know what they call it, but they were like air raid sirens, and I knew something was going on,” Nelson said.
Lando called the shootings “very tragic.”
“It’s happening too frequently,” he said. Every time we turn on the TV we’re seeing something like this happening. And now it’s happening in our backyards.”
This story has been edited to correct that base personnel, not police, shot the suspect and to correct a word in the base spokeswoman’s quote to “after,” not “before.” ___
Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in Frederick; Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland; Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia; Jonathan Drew in Durham, North Carolina, contributed to this report.