The shooting of a security guard at the headquarters of the U.S. Census Bureau prompted a lengthy lockdown and massive police operation on the evening of April 9. The situation began just after 6 p.m. and ended three hours later more than 10 miles away in the nation’s capital. The bureau is located within the Suitland Federal Complex in Suitland, Maryland. It’s home to the U.S. Census Bureau as well as five other federal agencies.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. The Gunman Is Still Alive
NBC Washington’s Shomari Stone first reported that “sources” told him that the Census incident was connected to a shooting that occurred in D.C. over an hour after authorities arrived at the Suitland complex.
In that incident, My Fox D.C. reports that an “armed kidnapping suspect” was shot by metro police on the 1100 block of H Street.
The station reports that the shooting in that location began as a chase through Washington’s streets. Shots were fired during the pursuit. The suspect is still alive after being shot multiple times by D.C. police.
SWAT Teams were deployed into the federal complex during what authorities believed was a standoff. Just before 8 p.m. local time, WUSA reporter Garrett Haake tweeted that he heard “three loud bangs in succession from inside the Suitland complex.” Those bangs were followed by “above 20 bangs,” according to Haake. The reporter added that the bangs seemed to be coming from different places within the complex.
2. The Security Guard Is Dead
WUSA reports that a security guard was shot in the chest. He was in critical condition at a local hospital, his death was firs reported at 9:30 p.m. During the later pursuit and shooting involving the suspect, a D.C. metro cop was shot in the leg and two other officers were injured in a car crash.
According to NBC Washington, the gunman rammed the gates of the federal complex. The guard gave chase and was in turn shot by the suspect. NBC Washington reports that the gunman is “barricaded” somewhere inside census bureau, that later proved to be untrue. The incident is being investigated by the FBI. The attack is not believed to have any links to terrorism.
3. Authorities Did a Car-By-Car Search of Every Vehicle in the Complex
Rick Boone with Fox D.C. tweeted that employees inside the complex were told “There’s an active shooter on the compound, stay away from windows, until he’s found.” They were also told that authorities would be doing a “car-by-car search of vehicles on the property,” according to the Washington Post. Just after 9 p.m., employees were told the situation had ended and they could leave.
There’s been no official confirmation about how many employees were still in the complex at the time of the attack. A man named Mario Exum who owns a print shop across the street from the complex told the Washington Post that he “smelled gunfire” just before 6 p.m., soon after the area around his store was packed with law enforcement. Exum is a former cop and military veteran.
4. The Complex Is Home to Naval Intelligence
The building is the headquarters of the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the center’s website, visitors are required to enter the complex through the Gate 5 entrance at Swann Road on the right of the map. Located in the complex are the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institute, the General Services Administration and the National Maritime Intelligence Center.
5. Over 7,000 People Are Employed in the Complex
According to Suitland’s website, there are over 7,000 people employed at the complex. The site covers 226 acres.