An active shooter emergency at a Maryland business park near Fort Detrick on Tuesday morning left two male U.S. Navy sailors wounded, with one still considered critical hours later, and the suspect, a Navy Hospital Corpsman, dead, officials said.
Officials on Tuesday afternoon identified the suspect as 38-year-old Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet, a Petty Officer Third Class assigned to Fort Detrick who lived off-base in Frederick.
Woldesenbet allegedly began shooting with a rifle inside a Navy-related business at the Riverside Tech Park, causing people inside to flee, Frederick police and Fort Detrick officials said at a news conference. Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said detectives are still trying to determine a possible motive.
Lando called the shootings “very tragic.”
Police walk near the scene of a shooting at a business park in Frederick, Md., Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
“It’s happening too frequently,” he said. Every time we turn on the TV we’re seeing something like this happening. And now it’s happening in our backyards.”
Woldesenbet purportedly used a rifle in the shooting at a Navy-related facility in the office park, Lando said. No other weapons were believed to been found.
One of the victims was later released from a hospital and the other remained in critical condition, the Navy said.
In a statement, the Navy said it was sending “our deepest condolences to all affected by this terrible act of violence and will continue to support the investigation.”
Brigadier General Michael J. Talley said Woldesenbet drove to the base after the initial shooting at the office park and sped past the gate before he could be searched. Talley said he made it about a half-mile into the installation before he was stopped at a parking lot. He then allegedly brandished his weapon at officers from the installation’s police force who had pursued him.
Image 1 of 2
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 the Riverside Tech Park, near the Royal Farms on Monocacy Boulevard, Tuesday morning, April 6, 2021, in northeast Frederick, Md. (Graham Cullen/The Frederick News-Post via AP)
Image 2 of 2
Police talk near the scene of a shooting at a business park in Frederick, Md., Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Talley said investigators are looking at whether the shooter knew the victims, but refused to speculate, saying: “We don’t want to compromise any aspect of the investigation.”
Fort Detrick is home to the military’s flagship biological defense laboratory and several federal civilian biodefense labs. About 10,000 military personnel and civilians work at the garrison, which encompasses about 1,300 acres in the city of Frederick.
Police had previously announced that they were “responding to an active shooter” on Progress Drive near Monocacy Boulevard. At approximately 8:20 a.m. local time, the shooter went into a business at the Riverside Tech park, about 4 miles from Fort Detrick, Lando said earlier Tuesday.
After the shooting, the suspect drove approximately 10 minutes to Fort Detrick, where he was killed by personnel there, officials said.
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick announced that the suspect “breached the Nalin Pond gate located off of Opposumtown Pike,” and made it onto the base, where he was fatally wounded.
The U.S. Navy confirmed on Twitter earlier Tuesday that the suspect was a Navy Hospital Corpsman.
“When these incidents happen in other places, you’re always grateful that it’s not your community,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said. “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.”
Before the emergency was cleared, authorities placed local schools on lockdown, local affiliate FOX 5 reported, and urged the public to stay away from the area of Progress Drive and Opposumtown Pike until the scene was neutralized, officials said.
“We have two different scenes,” Lando later told the media. “All I can tell you is that we have confirmed there is only one shooter. The public is no longer at risk. Everyone is safe.”
Fort Detrick is located approximately 50 minutes from Washington, D.C.
Fox News’ Ashley Cozzolino, Kelly Phares and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.