Norfolk Shooter Fought With Sailor, Stole Weapon

USS Mahan
USS Mahan

The civilian who killed a sailor at Naval Station Norfolk Monday night first fought and disarmed a petty officer guarding the USS Mahan.  The attacker was subsequently killed by Navy security forces, Navy officials said Tuesday.

The civilian shooter, who had access to Naval Station Norfolk, did not have a weapon when he approached the Mahan’s quarterdeck and was confronted by ship security personnel, Navy officials said. A struggle broke out and the civilian disarmed the Petty Officer of the Watch, the Navy said.

The civilian, who has not been identified, then used the weapon to shoot a sailor "responding to render assistance," the Navy statement said. The sailor who was killed has not yet been identified by the Navy.

No other injuries have been reported.

Naval Station Norfolk was put on lockdown as a precautionary measure at 11:20 p.m. when shots were fired. The lockdown lasted 45 minutes, said Capt. Robert Clark, commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk.

"We'll find out what happened, and we'll prevent that from occurring again," Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, based in Norfolk, told a group of sailors who gathered for a training session.

Navy officials asked that Mahan officers, chiefs and duty section personnel report only. Non-duty section enlisted personnel have been asked not to report to duty, Naval Station Norfolk announced.

Officials with Navy Criminal Investigative Services are investigating the incident, service officials said.

The shooting at Norfolk comes about a month after the Navy held anti-terrorism and force protection exercises on bases around the U.S., including an active-shooter drill at the Norfolk station.

The tragedy occurs six months after a gunman shot and killed 12 civilians working at the Washington Naval Yard before he was killed by officers. Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a report and actions to prevent similar mass shootings on military bases.

The Mahan, a guided missile destroyer, was docked at the first of 13 main piers at Naval Base Norfolk. The Norfolk base is the home port for 64 ships with about 46,000 service members and 21,000 civilian government employees and contractors assigned to the base and its ships, according to the Navy figures.

Each base entrance is guarded, and motorists present IDs. Inspections are rare. All 13 piers have additional security forces. As part of ongoing security efforts, handheld ID scanners were implemented this year at Navy bases in the region, including the Norfolk station.

-- Associated Press contributed to this report.

-- Kris Osborn can be reached at

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