A heavily armed tactical response unit that initially responded to the Washington Navy Yard shooting was told by its superiors to stand down before the suspected shooter was killed.
The advanced four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT) that usually guards the nearby US Capitol complex was one of the first armed teams on the scene to aid municipal police officers. The CERT unit was quickly told to leave the scene by Capitol Police command.
Former Navy reservist and tech contractor Aaron Alexis, the suspect in the shooting that left 12 people dead on Monday on Monday morning , had the proper security clearance to enter Building 197 – the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command – at around 12.15 GMT. 12:15 GMT.
Alexis, armed with a shotgun and pistol he took from a security officer he shot, began firing into a building atrium shortly after his arrival.
Sources told BBC News the CERT received notice of the shooting around 12.20 GMT12:20 GMT and arrived at the scene a few minutes later. They were wearing full tactical gear and were armed with HK-416 assault weapons.
A Capitol Police source said the CERT was told by an officer of the Metropolitan Police Department, the District’s local police force, that it was the most advanced and equipped response team at the scene upon arrival.
Nevertheless, the unit’s commander ordered them to leave the scene. The suspect was eventually killed at 13.00 13:00 GMT.