Reporting Derek Valcourt
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The Washington Navy Yard is back open, but it’s far from business as usual, following the mass shooting that left 13 people dead, including the shooter.
Derek Valcourt has more on the emotional return to what’s still a crime scene.
The FBI says after reviewing surveillance video of the actual shootings, it appears Aaron Alexis chose his victims at random. But that comes as little consolation to the thousands of Navy Yard employees who had to return to work.
A strong security presence remains at the Navy Yard, even as thousands of employees returned to work for the first time.
“I feel good because I got to see the people that I went through this with,” said Bob Flynn, Navy Yard employee.
Flynn was inside Building 197 on the third floor when he heard the first shots.
“We went over to the atrium, looking down at the cafeteria, and there was three more shots. ‘Boom, boom, boom.’ The gunman was right above us on the fourth floor. So we said, ‘Everybody to the inside rooms,’” Flynn said.
Flynn says he’ll now seek counseling after he and others hid under their desks while police shot gunman Aaron Alexis.
“When they finally rescued us later, I had to walk over the body of a very dear friend of mine. And that’s hard to get out of my head,” said Flynn.
Though things are slowly returning to normal at the Navy Yard, Building 197 remains closed. It is still a crime scene.
Now comes reports that a Capitol Police emergency response tactical team with HK416 rifles and full swat gear, specially trained to take on an active shooter, were ready to rush into Building 197 even as Aaron Alexis was blasting away in the atrium. But multiple officers say they were not given that chance.
As they prepared to enter the Navy Yard, a watch commander ordered them back to the Capitol. An investigation into those allegations is now ongoing, even as Navy Yard employees make the painful return to work.
“I think the best thing is for us to pick up the pieces and go on with our daily lives and be proud of what we are doing here,” a Navy Yard employee said.
It’s not clear how long Building 197 will remain closed. The full FBI investigation is expected to take weeks.
Results of an independent investigation into whether the Capitol Police tactical team was prevented from responding to the mass shooting are expected to be released in a report on Oct. 21.