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Walter Reed hospital active shooter alert an accident, Navy says

November 27, 2018

The Navy said late Tuesday that an active-shooter alert at the Walter Reed military hospital was an accident caused when someone “inadvertently” set off the warning system.

In a tweet, the Navy said the alarm at the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, “was the result of the improper use of a mass notification system by a tenant command.”

“While preparing for an upcoming drill, the notification system was inadvertently enacted without containing the words ‘EXERCISE’ or ‘DRILL,’” the Navy said.

From that point, the Navy said, “Individuals who saw the mass notification statement immediately notified NSA Bethesda security, where they responded accordingly and instituted an installation-wide active shooter response.”

Upon further investigation, officials determined that “improper use of the system was the root cause.”

The alert created understandable alarm at the world’s largest military medical center, where employees told people to shelter in place, and a lockdown was put in place. Workers eventually tweeted confirmation there was no active shooting incident, and the “code white alarm” was lifted.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, was visiting the facility and tweeted that he was “safe in a conference room w/ approx 40 others,” and that “we’ve been told there is an active shooter.”

The lawmaker later tweeted that “at no point was there any indication that this was a drill.”

At first, the Pentagon said the alert was part of a drill.

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