BETHESDA, Md. (WJZ) — There are lingering questions after an active shooter scare at Maryland’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Tuesday.
It took officials more than an hour to correct the false alert that went out to employees on the sprawling campus asking them to move patients to a secure location and “lock all doors until notified by security,”
Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger was inside the hospital at the time and told WJZ he wants answers.
“There were people who were very upset and afraid. There are a lot of people who really had serious issues,” he said. “The fact that I’m a member of Congress—and I’m on the Defense Appropriations Committee—I’m going to check with the Defense Department to find out who was in charge of this and why did happen this way because people could’ve been hurt. It was a lot of anxiety that we didn’t need to have.”
More than an hour after the alert, the Navy said it was an “ad hoc drill.”
Less than a half hour after that, Naval Support contradicted, writing on Twitter this was “not part of a scheduled drill.”
Almost two hours later, the Navy tweeted the real explanation: “…While preparing for an upcoming drill, the notification system was inadvertently enacted without containing the words exercise or drill.”
Government agencies have sent out more than 40 thousand alerts across the country since 2012.
In October, for the first time, FEMA tested the nationwide Presidential Alert system.
But there have been other mistakes.
This year, the National Weather Service issued a false tsunami warning.
In January, Hawaiian officials sent out a false alert about an incoming ballistic missile.
And in September, the University of Maryland sent out a report of a tornado warning when there was no official confirmation from the National Weather Service.