Shooting Incident Likely Was Random, Pentagon Says
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2010 An early morning shooting at the Pentagon’s exterior walls today likely was a random event, the director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said.
No one was injured, and the threat level at the Pentagon has not been increased as a result of what Steven E. Calvery called “an isolated event.”
At about 4:55 a.m., Calvery said, Pentagon officers said up to seven shots rang out from the area of the Pentagon’s south parking lot. Access was halted to the lot and all building entrances.
“Pentagon police, Virginia State Police and Arlington County Police conducted sweeps of the area, with no initial findings,” he said The reservation was declared safe and reopened at 5:40 a.m.”
A subsequent interior search revealed that bullets shattered exterior windows on the Pentagon’s third and fourth floors, but did not penetrate them, Calvery said. As a result, he added, Virginia State Police shut down portions of Interstate 395 and its high-occupancy vehicle lanes to look for any potential evidence.
The offices where the bullets struck are under renovation and were unoccupied, Calvery said.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency is working jointly with officials from Arlington County and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Calvery said, adding that a crime-scene search was under way to determine whether more bullets struck the building.
The FBI is looking into the possibility of a connection to a similar incident at the National Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va., over the weekend, Calvery said.
Law enforcement officers aren’t sure what type of weapon was used, and investigators had found no shell casings, Calvery said. No suspect description was available, and officials know of no specific threats, he added. Surveillance video is being reviewed for evidence, he said.
Meanwhile, Calvery told reporters, witness interviews continue, and the FBI is performing ballistics tests on the bullet fragments.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency acted quickly, he noted.
“We took prompt action at immediately closing down the reservation [and] vehicular access, as well as access to the building pretty quickly once the shots were verified,” he said. During the 40-minute shutdown, officers swept the parking lot for clues. “We weren’t sure what was going on out there, and we wanted to make sure it was safe,” Calvery said.
Security recently was beefed up at the Pentagon’s Metro entrance, which Calvery said is a result of an after-action review from a March 4 shooting at the Pentagon.
“We made those changes and we think it provides a higher level of protection of people transiting in and out of the Pentagon,” he said.
Officials are evaluating whether more security measures are needed, Calvery said, but he expressed confidence in the protective posture that already was in place.
“I personally think our security is pretty robust at normal times,” he said.
An investigation into the incident continues.