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Drill led to false report of active shooter at Andrews in Maryland

In this March 11, 2016 file photo, Joint Base Andrews personnel enter the Andrews Air Force Base main gate.

U.S. AIR FORCE

By TRAVIS J. TRITTEN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 30, 2016

WASHINGTON — Misidentification of security personnel at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland led to a series of false active-shooter warnings that locked down the facility and grounded the vice president, the base reported Thursday.

The joint Air Force and Navy base was setting up a previously scheduled active-shooter drill when a call came in about 9 a.m. claiming an actual shooter was at a Malcolm Grow Medical Facility building. That prompted Andrews to order personnel to shelter in place while the Pentagon issued a warning to the Washington, D.C. region that an active shooter was barricaded at the base.

Vice President Joe Biden had been scheduled to fly out of Andrews on Thursday morning but the trip was put on hold as the incident developed, according to the White House.

Just before noon, the base issued an update stating the false alarm – widely reported by national media – had been a “misidentification” of an emergency services team that was at the medical facility, where the drill was planned.

“Fortunately, this was not a life-threatening situation," said Col. Brad Hoagland, commander of Joint Base Andrews and the 11th Wing. “We take all threats seriously and reacted to ensure the security of those on the base.”

The security personnel were conducting a routine inspection for the active-shooter drill, which had not yet kicked off when the phone call came in, said Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys, a base spokesman.

First responders determined there was no actual threat to the base at about 10:40 a.m.

tritten.travis@stripes.com
Twitter: @Travis_Tritten

 

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