WASHINGTON — The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police has ordered a preliminary investigation into the agency’s response to Monday’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
U.S. Capitol police sources, who ask not to be named, say at least one of the agency’s four tactical units responded to the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning, minutes after shots were fired. But Capitol police directed the team not to enter the base.
A D.C. police team arrived at the Navy Yard seven minutes following the initial call.
It’s not clear exactly when the U.S. Capitol Police Containment and Emergency Response Team reached the area.
“If they were able to go in, could have confronted the shooter sooner, we possibly could have saved more lives,” one source says.
“We could have made a difference,” another source says.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine has opened an investigation into the allegations regarding his agency’s response.
In a written statement to WTOP, Dine says he has asked the Capitol Police Board to conduct an independent review of the agency’s response and the agency’s mutual aid efforts at the Navy Yard.
“I place a high priority on law enforcement agency relationships and law enforcement coordination and communication. During the evolving event, I also was in close and constant coordination with the Capitol Police Board, MPD, the FBI, Park Police, and other responding agencies, while focused on the security of the Capitol Complex. I personally offered assets to MPD Chief Cathy Lanier,” Dine said.
Security was increased at the Capitol Monday in the wake of the shootings. More security officers were stationed around the grounds and officers carried larger weapons. The Senate halted its work in the morning and access to the Senate side of the building was restricted.
Numerous law enforcement agencies responded to the Navy Yard Monday morning including the D.C. police and the National Park Service police.
The Associated Press reported that a supervisor told the tactical response team to stand down. The British Broadcasting Corp. and other news outlets reported that a Capitol Police watch commander issued the order.
In an interview with WTOP, Vice Adm. Bill French, commander of the Navy Installations Command, said, “I’m not aware of anyone being turned away.” He added that that question, as well as the issue of access to military bases, was the subject of a review encompassing the entire Department of Defense.
The Capitol Police union has requested a meeting with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s representative in Congress, regarding the events of Monday. Norton will hold the meeting “in the near future,” according to a statement from her office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.