Earlier this morning, the Fort Lee army base in Virginia went on lockdown after reports that one or more shots had been fired. The base sounded the “all clear” not long afterward, as investigators determined that the shot came from a woman who had injured herself:
The “active shooter” alert at Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia was prompted when a female soldier entered a building this morning with a gun and fired once, injuring herself, authorities said.
The female solder walked into the four-story Combined Arms Support Command Headquarters building at 9 a.m., according to a statement from Fort Lee’s media office.
Early reports from officials said the woman turned the weapon on herself and fired one shot.
Officials said the woman, whose identity was not released, was taken to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. Her condition is not known at this time.
Investigators closed the base briefly again, as WTVR in Richmond reported from the scene:
According to official reports, the shooter didn’t wound anyone else, which means that this might be either a suicide attempt or simply a case of mishandling the weapon. The Daily Mail reported that the soldier was “disgruntled” based on a Fox News report, but the Fox article linked by the Daily Mail didn’t have such information. However, the local NBC affiliate had a report which gave some details that supported that analysis — based on unnamed sources, though:
The soldier is now being treated at VCU Medical Center. Officials do not have her condition, but said she shot herself in the head and suffered serious injuries.
Army officials have not released her identity, but say she is an E7 Sergeant First Class who was deployed to Iraq in 2007 for 15 months in the personnel arena.
The soldier came into the Combined Arms Support Command Headquarters, building 5020 around 9 a.m. She went to the third floor of the building armed with a small, concealed handgun. She barricaded herself inside an office and began throwing stuff around the room. Negotiators tried to get the situation to end peacefully, but officials say she turned the gun to her head and fired a single shot. No other injuries were reported.
Technically, the “active shooter” alert is supposed to signify someone shooting at other people, but few will blame the Army officials for acting on the side of caution. We should expect the same from the investigation about the nature of the shooting itself and the soldier who injured herself, and that’s for the best. It’s best to wait for all of the facts to come out on the record before making assumptions about the nature of these incidents. That lesson has been taught to us many times — the Gabby Giffords shooting, for instance, or Ferguson this month — and perhaps we may soon start learning it.