A Navy hospital corpsman shot two sailors at a business park in Maryland before breaching a gate at the nearby Fort Detrick Army base where he was killed by military personnel, authorities said.
Married, father-of-two Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet, 38, who had a rank of E-4, or petty officer third class, entered a business at the Riverside Tech Park, which is connected to the Fort Detrick base, causing people inside to flee, Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said.
After the shooting, the medic drove about 10 minutes to Fort Detrick, where he was shot by base personnel, Lando said at a news conference.
Lando said Woldesenbet did not reside on base, adding that he lives in the 100 block of Willow Dale Drive in Frederick.
According to Lando, a rifle was used in the shooting, but he didn’t give any other details. It’s unclear if the rifle was issued by the military.
Authorities said the victims, who are both Navy sailors, were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Centre in Baltimore where one remains in critical condition.
Lando said the second victim is still being treated, but he is expected to be released on Wednesday. Neither victim has been notified pending next of kin notification.
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Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet, 38, who had a rank of E-4, or petty officer third class, entered a business at the Riverside Tech Park, which is connected to the Fort Detrick base, causing people inside to flee, police said. An officer stands near a pool of blood from the scene
The man entered a business at the Riverside Tech Park (pictured, officers at the scene), causing people inside to flee, but it was unclear if the shooting took place inside or outside, Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said
Authorities said the victims were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Centre in Baltimore where they remain in critical condition. A sheriff’s deputy puts bags with evidence into a police vehicle near the scene
A hospital spokeswoman did not respond to an email asking for an update on the victims.
The incident unfolded around 8.20am Tuesday morning, Frederick police said.
Just after 9am, police tweeted that they were responding to ‘an active shooter in the 8400 block of Progress Drive’.
Woldesenbet then drove to the Fort Detrick base where he drove through a gate at an entrance to the base before base personnel confronted him on a road, according to Fort Detrick spokeswoman Lanessa Hill.
‘It wasn’t that long before he came through the gate. Not even a quarter of a mile,’ Hill said.
She said Frederick police had given them advance notice by putting out a BOLO, ‘so we knew that he was out there’.
In addition, Brigadier Gen Michael Talley confirmed that base personnel attempted to search Woldesenbet before he sped past them in his personal vehicle.
Brigadier Gen Michael Talley confirmed that base personnel attempted to search Woldesenbet before he sped past them in his personal vehicle
After passing through the gate, Talley said Woldesenbet was stopped in a parking lot and exited his vehicle while brandishing a weapon.
He said base police then ‘neutralized the subject’ before rendering life-saving efforts for about 20 minutes’.
Talley said there were no other injuries on the Fort Detrick base.
Police cordoned off Woldesenbet’s garden-style apartment building in Frederick City, a few miles from the site of the shooting.
A neighbor, Ava Target, said she knew Woldesenbet only by sight, and that he lived on the top floor of the apartment complex with a wife and two kids. She wasn’t aware of any problems.
Mark Nelson, a firefighter who lives in a row of townhomes across the street from the base, said he heard the base blast warning sirens Tuesday morning.
‘I heard, I don’t know what they call it, but they were like air raid sirens, and I knew something was going on,’ Nelson said.
Lando called the shootings ‘very tragic’.
‘It’s happening too frequently. Every time we turn on the TV we’re seeing something like this happening. And now it’s happening in our backyards.’
After the shooting, the medic drove about 10 minutes to Fort Detrick, where he was shot by base personnel, Lando (pictured) said at a news conference
A member of the Frederick Police Department Special Response Team peers out of a minivan before the team entered Fort Detrick on Tuesday
Members of the Frederick Police Department Special Response Team prepare to enter Fort Detrick at the Nallin Farm Gate in a convoy of vans and sedans following a shooting in Riverside Tech Park
Lando said investigators were still gathering information about the incident and could not say what the relationship, if any, was between the victims and the suspect. An aerial view of where the shootings occurred
Jeremy Mutschler, director of marketing for Nicolock Paving Stones, said that his understanding is that the shooting was near the company’s Frederick location but not at the business itself.
‘One of the victims who was wounded entered our facility looking for help and we were able to assist and call the authorities,’ said Mutschler, who is based in New York.
Lando said investigators were still gathering information about the incident and could not say what the relationship, if any, was between the victims and the suspect.
Officials declined to disclose the duties of the shooter or the two victims, or to say whether the motive behind the incident may have been related to their work. All three were assigned to the base, officials said.
‘We’re still trying to sort through stacks of paper… to figure out exactly what the motive would be,’ said Frederick police Lt Andrew Alcorn.
It’s also unclear if Woldesenbet was scheduled to work on Tuesday. Investigators could not confirm Woldesenbet’s length of service.
Police said they are working to determine if the attack was targeted. When asked about Woldesenbet’s mental health status, authorities said they are unsure at this time.
‘[I]don’t know his mental status at the time, and we´re certainly going to find all that out,’ Talley said.
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor noted that various defense contractors are located near Fort Detrick and that it wouldn’t be unusual for a member of the military to be off base and working with a private firm that does business with the US government.
‘When these incidents happen in other places, you´re always grateful that it´s not your community,’ O’Connor added.
‘But you always know, perhaps in the back of your mind, that that’s just luck – that there isn’t any reason why it couldn´t happen here. And today it did.’
Maryland Gov Larry Hogan released a statement Tuesday afternoon thanking first responders.
‘I want to thank the federal, state, and local law enforcement officials for responding swiftly to the incident this morning in Frederick. We are keeping the victims in our prayers and @MDSP will continue to assist in the investigation,’ Hogan said.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also been called in to assist local police.
Fort Detrick houses the National Interagency Biodefense Campus, home to the military’s National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research.
Its website describes it as a consortium of eight agencies working ‘to achieve a healthier and more secure nation’.