Confusion After D.C. Navy Yard Shooting; Police Couldn’t See Live Video


Communication problems among federal and Washington, D.C., authorities complicated the search for the gunman during the September 2013 mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, says a police report that says city officers were unable to access live video of the shooter as they streamed into harm's way, says the Washington Post. The U.S. Navy failed to tell police that a video feed from 160 cameras in the corridors where Aaron Alexis, 34, opened fire could be seen from a room in the building. A private security guard locked himself in the room and apparently did not try to contact anyone.

Too many command buses crowded the scene, officers talked over each other on different radio channels, and there was confusion among responders about who was in charge. “We never saw the base commander during the entire incident,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier tells the Post. The Navy set up a separate command center. “We're still not sure who was the right person to be the decision-maker,” Lanier said. Access to the video feed probably would not have saved lives because 10 of the 12 victims were killed within the first six minutes but it might have prevented Alexis from wounding a police officer. It would also have allowed police to discount reports of a possible second shooter. Authorities kept a swath of the District in lockdown for three hours after officers killed Alexis, who was acting alone.

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