At 8:15 a.m. local time this morning, the Naval Medical Center San Diego near Balboa Park reported an active shooter on the premises of the Navy hospital, through their Facebook page.
“**!ATTENTION!** An active shooter has just been been reported in building #26 at Naval Medical Center San Diego. All occupants are advised to run, hide or fight. All non-emergency response personnel are asked to stay away from the compound, located at 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, San Diego, CA 92134.”
The San Diego Police Department confirmed there was an active shooter incident at the hospital shortly after NMCSD made their announcement.
Just after 9 a.m. the medical center issued this statement:
“The sound of gunshots were reported in the basement of building #26 at Naval Medical Center San Diego at about 8 a.m. today. Naval Medical Center San Diego is treating this as a possible active shooter. All personnel are advised to execute active shooter procedures. Non-emergency response personnel are asked to stay away from the compound. San Diego Police Department and Chula Vista S.W.A.T. are on scene at building #26. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
The entire medical facility was been placed on lockdown and law enforcement kept everyone from entering the premises. Bob Wilson Drive and Florida Drive are closed, as are all other roads leading to NMCSD. Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, with literally next to NMCSD, are still open, but several schools in the area are on lockdown. City College isn’t, but NBC 7 in San Diego is reporting the college set up a perimeter around the school.
Naval Base Point Loma was on lockdown, but Naval Base Coronado wasn’t. There was no word about Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, which is in the Midway neighborhood of San Diego near Point Loma and San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field). NMCSD is right under the flight path for aircraft landing at Lindbergh Field, but flight operations appear to be taking place normally.
The Naval Medical Center San Diego — Balboa Hospital to old school Navy and Marine Corps veterans — cares for mostly Navy and Marine Corps personnel who have been injured around the world, as well as in the local area. They also care for the families of military personnel and they have a day care center for the center’s employees. They employ over 6.500 people at NMCSD, many of them members of the military.
Building #26 is a recreational center, surrounded by other buildings on the sprawling campus that covers over 78 acres in the southwest corner of Balboa Park.
Just after 10 a.m. the Navy Public Affairs Officer for the area, Brian O’Rourke, held a press conference to say they found no evidence of a gunman or a shooting, but K9 units were continuing a search of the medical center grounds. As of yet we have no word on who or what set off the active shooter alert, only that it was one witness reporting they heard three shots fired.
Because access to the area is blocked, traffic is backed up for miles and people are advised to find different routes.
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UPDATE: As of 10:30 a.m. N. Scott Sutherland, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for Navy Region Southwest sent this message to the media:
“The investigation of Building 26 continues. First responders and Navy working dog units have conducted an initial top down inspection of the Building and have not located any casualties or evidence of a shooting having taken place. There have been no reported casualties at this time. There is a secondary, more thorough floor by floor inspection taking place at this time. The medical facility remains on lockdown and a shelter in place order remains in effect.”
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UPDATE: Late this afternoon the commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego, Capt. Curt Jones told reporters investigator didn’t find anything to substantiate one person’s report of hearing gunfire from the basement of building #26. The Navy conducted a thorough search of the building and surrounding area, but found nothing to indicate any shooting took place.
The “Shelter in Place” order was lifted shortly after 1:30 pm. local time and the hospital and other institutions began returning to normal operations.
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UPDATE: later on Tuesday Captain Jones issued another statement, saying, “We have found nothing that indicates that any shots were fired. I would characterize it as someone who thought they heard something, made reports, and we took appropriate steps.”
He added, “We are investigating now what might have caused [the initial report]. Our priority is to ensure all personnel in that building and this part of the compound is safe and secure.”
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