According to the BBC, one of the first teams of heavily-armed police to respond to Monday’s shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC was not permitted to intervene.
A highly-trained and specialized tactical unit of Capitol Police officers arrived on the scene shortly after the shootings began, but a supervisor told them to stand down and leave instead of allowing them to help the Municipal Police Department take down the shooter.
The officers were part of a four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team responsible for guarding the nearby Capitol and trained for active shooter situations. They were “wearing full tactical gear and armed with HK-416 assault weapons” when they arrived near the scene of the then active mass shooting on Monday morning.
According to the BBC:
According to a Capitol Police source, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington DC’s main municipal force, told the Capitol Cert officers they were the only police on the site equipped with long guns and requested their help stopping the gunman.
When the Capitol Police team radioed their superiors, they were told by a watch commander to leave the scene.
Several Capitol Police sources who spoke to the BBC asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
Capitol Police Officer Jim Konczos, who leads the officers’ union, said the Cert police are expert marksmen who train for active shooter incidents.
“Odds are it might have had a different outcome,” he said of Monday’s shooting and the decision to order the Cert unit to stand down. “It probably could have been neutralized.”
Capitol Hill Police chief Kim Dine has ordered “a comprehensive, independent review of the facts surrounding the Capitol Police’s response to the Navy Yard shootings”. A spokesperson for the Capitol Police said that radio logs from Monday morning are being pulled to investigate the incident, and a “Fact Review Team” has been formed.
Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer told the BBC that “It’s a very serious allegation and inference to indicate that we were on scene and could have helped and were told to leave…it crushes me if that’s the case.”
A spokesperson for the Municipal Police Department told the BBC that the allegations of an initial order to stand down were “not true.”
The results of the investigation are due no later than Oct. 21.
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