WASHINGTON — Fairfax County police say confusion surrounding an active shooter drill at a Bailey’s Crossroads office building Thursday led to alarm as businesses unaware of the drill locked down and people in the area scrambled for information.
At about 1:15 p.m., Fairfax County police said officers were investigating a report of shots heard at 5109 Leesburg Pike. Police tweeted that nothing was confirmed and they had not located any suspects or victims.
At about 2 p.m., police tweeted that they confirmed the incident was the scene of an active shooter drill.
Fairfax County police says they were not aware of the drill initially. A federal agency in the building was holding the drill, says police spokeswoman Officer Shelley Broderick, but she says it is still not clear which agency it is.
Neither Arlington County police nor the FBI Washington Field Office were aware of the drill either, both agencies told WTOP.
Fairfax County police say one of the building’s tenants received an email that there would be an active shooter drill, and the tenant forwarded the email to another person who worked in the building. The other person, not realizing it was a drill, called 911 presuming there was an active shooter.
Fairfax County police had a large presence and the incident caused alarm to people in the area who seemed to be unaware of a drill.
@WTOP any word on alleged active shooter in the Baileys Cross Skyline Towers Complex? We are currently Sheltered in Place.
— Denise Polk (@nisey416) October 15, 2015
Edgar Rodriguez of Rockville was locked in the building at the time and was clueless about the drill.
“They should let people know,” Rodriguez says.
Abby Lundberg says she was happy with the police response to the incident, but says people need to know more about nearby drills in the future.
“I definitely think there can be more communication because everyone was freaking out,” Lundberg says.
Still, Michael Edwards says an unannounced drill may not be a bad idea.
“If they do the same thing on a real active incident, I feel safe,”he says.
The building at 5109 Leesburg Pike has several government agencies and private companies.
WTOP’s Ari Ashe, Mike Murillo and Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.