Looking for more information on the DC Shooter’s Facebook page which reportedly used the Muslim name ‘Mohammed Salem,’ I came across this report from BBC, which, if true, is shocking and reprehensible. If it is true, there already seems to be a cover-up.
According to a BBC report, one of the most heavily armed police teams, assigned with the task of protecting the Capitol complex and responsible for responding to threats of terrorism, was ordered to stand down in response to Monday’s shooting at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building in D.C.
A tactical response team of the Capitol Police, a force that guards the US Capitol complex, was told to leave the scene by a supervisor instead of aiding municipal officers. The Capitol Police department has launched a review into the matter. Aaron Alexis, 34, killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard. “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 familiar with the incident told the BBC.
Multiple sources in the Capitol Police department have told the BBC that its highly trained and heavily armed four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (Cert) was near the Navy Yard when the initial report of an active shooter came in about 8:20 local time. The officers, wearing full tactical gear and armed with HK-416 assault weapons, arrived outside Building 197 a few minutes later, an official with knowledge of the incident told the BBC.
According to a Capitol Police source, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington DC’s main municipal force, told the Capitol Cert officers they were the only police on the site equipped with long guns and requested their help stopping the gunman.
When the Capitol Police team radioed their superiors, they were told by a watch commander to leave the scene, the BBC was told. The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was reported killed after 09:00. Several Capitol Police sources who spoke to the BBC asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.
Capitol Police Officer Jim Konczos, who leads the officers’ union, said the Cert police train for what are known as active shooter situations and are expert marksmen. “Odds are it might have had a different outcome,” he said of Monday’s shooting and the decision to order the Cert unit to stand down. “It probably could have been neutralized.”
Capitol Hill Police chief Kim Dine has ordered “a comprehensive, independent review of the facts surrounding the Capitol Police’s response to the Navy Yard shootings”. The Capitol Police Board responded by establishing what it called a “Fact Review Team”, led by Michael Stenger, a former assistant director of the US Secret Service.
Earlier, Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt Kimberly Schneider said its officers had “offered and provided mutual support and assistance at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday”.
Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer, who oversees the Capitol Police department, confirmed officials were pulling radio logs from Monday’s incident and interviewing the officers involved. “It’s a very serious allegation and inference to indicate that we were on scene and could have helped and were told to leave,” he said. “It crushes me if that’s the case.”
Mr Gainer said that while the department’s primary responsibility was to protect the Capitol complex, which houses the US Congress, that mission did not allow it to turn a “blind eye” when asked for help.
Gwendolyn Crump, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department, which protects the city of Washington DC, said allegations that a Capitol Police Cert team was on scene and later stood down were “not true”.
A Capitol Police officer who heard the Cert request over the radio to engage the gunman reported colleagues within the department felt frustrated they were told to stand down. The officer described a culture in which emergency responders are instructed to not extend themselves beyond the Capitol grounds for fear of discipline. “They were relying on our command staff to make the right call,” another Capitol Police officer said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that happened in this case.”