US military base locked down
WASHINGTON—Joint Base Andrews, the military facility near Washington that is home to the president´s plane, was placed on lockdown on Thursday because of reports of a gunman at large and personnel were told to shelter in place.
Base officials issued an all-clear message for the base after about an hour, but said in Twitter messages that a medical center at the facility remained on lockdown. A US defense official said a second sweep was being conducted at the Malcolm Grow Medical Facility out of “an abundance of caution.”
There had been no reports of gunfire or casualties. Base officials said earlier that the military installation had been scheduled to conduct an active shooter exercise, but that there was a report of a “real-world” gunman at large at the medical center.
President Barack Obama, who flies out of Andrews on Air Force One, was not scheduled to use the base on Thursday.
US Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to depart from Andrews during the morning for a trip to Ohio. He was now holding at his official residence in Washington, his spokeswoman said. “First responders are on-scene now,” base officials said on Twitter. “Due to the serious nature of this report, the base is reacting to ensure the safety of all personnel.
“No other details were immediately available, and base officials did not return calls for comment.
Prince George´s County police directed questions to the base. The US military has been on high alert for possible attacks at US locations after incidents such as the July 2015 shooting rampage that killed five service members at two military offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the 2009 shooting at a US Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, in which a gunman killed 13 people.—Agencies Those who died were all women, Italian reports said.
The latest migrant tragedy came as the Italian navy raised to the surface a boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives. The April 2015 sinking was the worst loss of human life since the influx of migrants began in 2013.
More than 64,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy since the start of this year, according to UN figures, including more than 16,000 in June alone. Most of the arrivals have come from African countries.
The Italian coast guard arrived at the scene of Thursday’s sinking after a distress signal was received at its Rome headquarters.
The dinghy was partly submerged and many of its passengers were already in the water, reports said. Sea conditions were described as poor, with high winds and waves of up to 2m (6.6ft).—Agencies