Witnesses To Navy Yard Shooting Describe Chaos - New York News

Witnesses To Navy Yard Shooting Describe Chaos

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WASHINGTON -

It was a chaotic day around the Washington Naval Yard. The shooting started minutes after reveille. Captain Mark Vandroff had just started a meeting.

"I heard the gun fire and the bullets came on top of the conference room," he recalls.

Employees who work at the Navy Yard building 197 say that the shooting happened just as they were arriving for work. Ambulances, helicopters and police swarmed the area, thinking more gunman may be out there.

Vandroff says he was barricaded under a table in a conference room with nine others, as shots were being fired for more than an hour. He and others are now just hearing of the death toll.

"I know I lost a friend today. Someone I worked at the Pentagon with, I believe to be one of the fatalities. I have not processed that yet," he says.

Many employees spent the entire day on lock down, many in the dark about exactly what happened. After spending hours inside, they were released by officials after being given the all clear. Hundreds of civilian and military employees, who had a front seat to the shooting, poured out of the Navy Yard after hiding in their offices for hours. Caravans of buses escorted many of these employees off the Navy Yard property and into the night.

"I'm so glad to be out of the building. I'm really tired. I'm really tired," said Freedom Mushaw, a Naval Analyst.

The Washington Nationals baseball park served as a meeting point for workers and families.

"We know these kinds of things happen in other cities in America, but nothing like this in the District of Columbia," said Mayor Vincent Gray, in an afternoon press conference.

Many of the people who work at the Navy Yard say that building 197 that houses high level defense departments is a very secure facility.

"You can't get into the building unless you badge in," said an employee.

But now, some are saying they have serious questions about security. Just how a gunman gets into one of the oldest military installations in the country is the big question tonight.

"Right now, I'm a little shaken up. And I just want to go home to my family," says Yvonne Thomas, a Navy Yard Employee.

Now, for many of these employees, it's a matter of getting home to family and processing what happened early this Monday morning.

"This is a reasonably stressful day. So all the people who work for me, about 60 people, I got confirmation got out safe," says Capt. Mark Vandroff.

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