As a gunman was shooting up the Navy Yard, an elite police team stationed "less than 30 seconds from the gate" was ready to provide help—but a commander "wouldn't let them go in and stop people from being slaughtered," an officer tells WUSA9. While hundreds of other cops were surging onto the scene, the Capitol Police were ordered back, an officer tells the Washington Post. Now, the chief of the Capitol Police, a team formed in 1828 that protects members of Congress, has ordered an independent inquiry into what happened that day, USA Today reports.
"We were definitely the closest tactical team in the city," the officer tells the Post. "It was at the scene very early on, within a couple of minutes. They were ordered to disengage and turn back. For what reason, we don’t know." The force's Containment and Emergency Response Team, or CERT, was heavily armed and trained to deal with active shooters, the BBC notes. Another Capitol Police source tells the BBC: "I don't think it's a far stretch to say that some lives may have been saved if we were allowed to intervene." But a rep for the Capitol Police has told a different story, saying officers "offered and provided mutual support and assistance at the Washington Navy Yard."