A man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a Falls Church, Virginia law firm, and Fairfax County authorities now say the threat is over.
Initial reports were of an active shooter. According to Patch, dispatch reports indicated the shooting was at 8111 Gatehouse Road, “which is the address of Falls Church Merrifield Preschool.” However, police later said the shooting occurred in a law firm, not the preschool, and the only person dead was the adult male with the gun.
At about 5:30 p.m. ET, Fairfax County police wrote on Twitter that one person had died, but there was “no longer a threat.” Still, they urged people to stay away. Police wrote earlier on: “UPDATE: Reunification area for preschool children who were in the building where shooting occurred is Luther Jackson Middle School.”
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler said authorities “received several 911 calls at around 4:50 p.m. for reports of an active shooter inside the six-story building in the 8100 block of Gatehouse Road. The callers reported a man firing several rounds from a pistol. When officers entered the building, they found the shooter dead at the scene.” According to Fox DC, “There were children at a daycare center inside the office building, but there were no reports of any other injuries, police said. All of the children have been reunited with their parents.”
You can watch the news conference here:
Police said early on that the dead person might be the shooter, and people were still sheltering in place at 6 p.m., but there were no other reports of injuries. Police wrote, “This shooting at 8111 Gatehouse is next to School Board HQ. There is a daycare in 8111 Gatehouse. No reports of any injured children.”
“One confirmed dead at the shooting in the 8100 block of Gatehouse Road. It appears there’s no longer a threat. Avoid the area,” police wrote early on in the incident.
Patch further reported that a man whose wife was working as an EMT “says the shooter was inside the school building with his wife and kids, and the SWAT team was going in.” However, again, it later turned out that he was actually in the law firm’s offices inside the building.
Still, it was a scary moment for parents and people inside the building. Police also wrote, “The reunification point for parents and children is at 8100 Gatehouse Road, accessed by Telestar Court ONLY.”
A few minutes before that, they revealed: “We are evacuating an office building in the 8100 block of Gatehouse Road after reports of a shooting. It appears there’s no longer a threat.”
Police had initially written: “Reports of a shooting in the 8100 block of Gatehouse Road. Avoid the area.”
They set up a media staging area.
The man, Pete Hines, who said his wife was an EMT called to treat possible victims, wrote on Twitter, “finally got an update. she’s ok. swat got a bunch of kids out of the building. hearing that the shooter is down.”
He also wrote, “I’m assuming she’s treating people and helping save lives. But I’m helpless. Staring at my cell waiting for a txt to know she’s ok.” Hines added, “can’t imagine what those kids just went through. or what their parents must be going through. hug your loved ones tight tonight.”