Navy Yard shooting: Police investigating response team reportedly 'stood down'


Law enforcement personnel rush into the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16, 2013.


Alex Wong

Washington DC police on Thursday launched a probe into the response to Monday's mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard after a BBC report said an elite tactical response team was "stood down" at the scene.

Sources told the BBC that a police supervisor did not allow the responding Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT) to intervene while 34-year-old gunman Aaron Alexis was shooting. Alexis killed a total of 12 people.

"I don't think it's a far stretch to say that some lives may have been saved if we were allowed to intervene," a Capitol Police source who said he knew about what happened told the BBC.

The US Capitol Police Board issued a statement on Wednesday saying they will hold "a comprehensive, independent review of the facts surrounding the Capitol Police's response to the Navy Yard shootings," according to the BBC.

The CERT team is specially trained for such situations and had reportedly arrived with HK-416 assault rifles minutes after Alexis went into the Navy Yard's building 197.

Referring to CERT's non-intervention, Capitol Police Officer Jim Konczos told the BBC there might have been "a different outcome" and if they had been involved, saying the situation "probably could have been neutralized."

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer of the US Capitol Police Department told the "AntiWars" website that the BBC report contains "a very serious allegation and inference to indicate that we were on scene and could have helped and were told to leave."

The shooter, a Navy defense contractor who held a secret clearance to the building, was also killed Monday.

According to the Washington Post, nearly five million US government workers received such clearances in 2012.