At around 11:20 p.m. on Monday March 25th, a shooting at Naval Station Norfolk left two dead, one suspected civilian and one sailor. According to USA Today, the Navy reported Tuesday that a civilian entered one of the world’s largest naval bases, boarded a guided missile destroyer that is currently docked at the base, and killed a sailor after disarming a guard. The Navy has reported that the civilian was killed after shooting the sailor who had come to the aid of the disarmed guard. The shooting took place on Pier 1 of Norfolk, Virginia’s USS Mahan.
Terri Davis, spokeswoman for USS Mahan, told press associates that the civilian was authorized to be on the base. Captain Robert Clark, commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk, told the press that he wanted to make it very clear to the public that the civilian did not bring his own weapon onto the naval base. The weapon used to shoot the sailor was taken from the guard who was disarmed by the civilian. The civilian entered the destroyer through the quarterdeck, and upon getting aboard the missile destroyer was approached by the ship’s security who struggled with the civilian before being disarmed. The civilian is said to have taken the petty officer’s service pistol. He then used the weapon on the sailor who came to the security personnel’s aid. According to ABC News, other security personnel then killed the suspect. Navy spokesman, Jim Mior, told CNN News that the suspect was in fact killed by security forces. Until the families of the civilian and sailor are notified of the incident, their identities are not being disclosed to the public.
The base went through a forty-five minute lock down before opening back up, as a precaution due to events. All the piers are said to have been returned to full operations with the exception of Pier 1, due to investigations. Enlisted sailors for Pier 1 were told not to report for duty Tuesday due to the shooting.
According to CNN News, Clark reported that the civilian had previously worked at the installation. However, Clark also stated that he could not verify if the civilian had a current assignment there, or why he was aboard the destroyer. In order to get onto the base, civilians are escorted by security and authorized identification is required. Such authorized civilians would include personnel that work for the Department of Defense, family members of military personnel, or contractors. The base spans over 6,000 acres and the port is home to over 64 ships. According to Navy records, the port has 21,000 authorized civilian personnel and contractors, and 46,000 military personnel that are assigned to the base. Each base entrance is guarded and ID’s are required by any boarding motorist.
According to ABC News, the Mahan was commissioned in 1998 with a crew of nearly 300. The destroyer had recently returned to port this past September after being deployed for an eight month period in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
As of now, Clark has told press associates that there are counselors available on the naval site to discuss the two deaths. As far as what this civilian was doing on board the destroyer is yet to be discovered, and why he intentionally disarmed the security personnel and shot a sailor is yet to be known. Clark told USA Today that the investigation has just started and there is a great deal of information that is still unknown about the Norfolk Station shooting.
By Sarah Widger