Updated: This story has been updated with additional information from the Associated Press.
After 13 people were shot and killed Monday morning in Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard area, three students in the Michigan in Washington Program who work in the area as interns were reported to be safe, according to a post on the program’s public Facebook group.
The mass shooting began at 8:20 a.m. at Building 197, part of the main headquarters for the Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. About 3,000 people, many civilians, work at the headquarters, which is located in the heart of D.C., less than four miles from the White House and two miles from the Capitol.
In a Facebook post this morning, MIW noted that the students, who work in the National Defense University’s Eisenhower Center in Navy Yard, were safe and no longer at the compound.
In an e-mail sent to MIW alumni, a program staffer confirmed the students were safe, and said each student will continue to update program leaders on their whereabouts.
“Two of the three students are at the Navy Yard but are safe, and another, who was on her way to work at Navy Yard, has been detoured on her shuttle bus to Fort McNair, and the bus has extra security en route now,” the e-mail said.
The gunman, killed by police, was identified as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist from Fort Worth, Texas. Alexis, an employee at a defense contractor, used his pass to get into the Washington Navy Yard and began shooting bullets in hallways and firing from a balcony on workers in an atrium below.
The reason for the deadly shooting is still unknown, investigators said. It is not yet clear if this was an act of terrorism.
For much of the day, authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been dressed in an olive-drab military-style uniform. But by late Monday night, officials said they were convinced the attack was the work of a lone gunman, and the security lockdown around the area was eased.
The attack came four years after Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood in what he said was an effort to save the lives of Muslims overseas. He was convicted last month and sentenced to death.
In addition to those killed, eight people were hurt — three of them shot and wounded, according to the mayor. Those three were a police officer and two female civilians, authorities said. They are all expected to survive.
The decesased ranged in age from 46 to 73, according to the mayor. A number of the victims were civilian employees and contractors, rather than active-duty military personnel, the police chief said.
Monday’s incident was the deadliest mass shooting on a military installation in the United States since the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.
—The Associated Press contributed reporting.