Two sailors were wounded in a shooting spree at an industrial park in Frederick, Maryland, on Tuesday before the suspect was fatally shot at a nearby military installation, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as 38-year-old Navy medic Phantahun Girma Woldesenbet, entered a naval-related business in the Riverside Tech Park and, armed with a rifle, opened fire, officials said. Two sailors were injured. One is in critical condition and the other is expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday.
Woldesenbet, a petty officer third class, then drove about four miles to Fort Detrick, where he was stationed, Frederick Chief Police Chief Jason Lando said.
He was stopped at a security access checkpoint at the base. Before his vehicle was searched, Woldesenbet sped through the gate and was followed by the installation’s police force, Brigadier General Michael Talley said.
Talley said the suspect made it about a half-mile into the installation before he was stopped at a parking lot. He brandished a rifle at officers who had pursued him and was fatally shot.
Talley said investigators are looking at whether the shooter knew the victims. He 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 on the base, which encompasses about 1,300 acres in the city of Frederick.
The suspect and both victims were stationed at the installation, though investigators did not say whether they knew one another before the attack.
“Every time you turn on the news, there’s something like this happening,” Lando said, noting the back-to-back mass shootings across the country in recent weeks. “We always hope that we don’t get that call, but today we got that call. Tomorrow it could be another agency, so it’s a sad fact of life but that’s that’s why we’re here.”
The shooting comes after a series of fatal shooting sprees around the nation, including a rampage last week at a California office building that left four people dead.
Jeremy Mutschler, director of marketing for Nicolock Paving Stones, said the shooting apparently took place 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,” Mutschler, who is based in New York, told the Associated Press.
Maryland State Police also responded, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Baltimore said its agents and a K-9 team were on the scene of what ATF described as a “critical incident.”
Gov. Larry Hogan has been briefed on the situation, his office said.
Earlier, police posted on social media that officers were “on scene of an active shooter. The suspect is down. There are two victims with status unknown.”
Frederick Community College briefly went into a lockdown, tweeting that “this is not a drill.” But later the college said students and staff could return to normal operations: “The incident has been contained. There is no threat on FCC campus. ALL CLEAR.”
Some Frederick County public schools also were briefly locked down “due to police activity in the area,” the administration said. “All students and staff are safe. The lockout has been lifted.”
Frederick is city of about 70,000 people about 50 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
Contributing: Associated Press