Survivors Describe Navy Yard Shooting
'We're lucky he was far enough away he was a bad shot'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2013 11:52 AM CDT
People hold their hands to their heads as they are escorted out of the building where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Terrie Durham and Todd Brundidge were working in a third-floor office at the Navy Yard yesterday when the alarm went off. "Someone came up to my desk and said, 'This is not a drill. Someone had just been shot," Brundidge tells NBC. They left their office, only to see a blue-clad gun-toting man standing about 40 yards down the hallway. Without a word, the man raised his gun and fired at them. "We're lucky he was far enough away he was a bad shot," Durham says.

Not everyone, obviously, was so lucky. One commander says he had just fled the building and was standing in a back alley talking with a worker from the maintenance facility—only to see that worker shot in front of him. More than anything, most of the witness statements convey confusion and panic. Here are some others:

  • One contractor tells the Washington Post the gunshots sounded "like a table falling on concrete."
  • A logistics expert says he actually thought that's what they were. "We're always setting up for seminars and things like that. I figured the leg had collapsed and one had fallen." But then he "heard someone yell, 'Call 911!' And I knew it was a shooting."
  • From witness statements, it appears the shooter was firing from the fourth floor into the first-floor cafeteria. One worker says she was en route to that cafeteria when she heard shots coming from overheard. "We just started running," she says. "I didn't see the shooter at all."
  • The LA Times has a roundup of social media posts. "All I hear is screaming," one person tweeted from a since-deleted account. In other tweets, the account describes seeing a woman "running getting stepped on. Endless tears from people seeing coworker getting shot at."