Two sailors were wounded in a shooting spree at an industrial park in Frederick, Maryland, on Tuesday before the suspect was fatally shot at a nearby military installation, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as 38-year-old Navy medic Phantahun Girma Woldesenbet, entered a Naval-related business in the Riverside Tech Park and, armed with a rifle, opened fire, officials said. Two sailors were injured. One is in critical condition and the other was released from the hospital.
After the shooting, Woldesenbet, a petty officer third class, drove about four miles to Fort Detrick, where he was stationed, Frederick Chief Police Chief Jason Lando said.
He was stopped at a security access checkpoint at the base. Before his vehicle was searched, Woldesenbet sped through the gate and was followed by the installation’s police force, Brigadier General Michael Talley said.
Talley said the suspect made it about a half-mile into the installation before he was stopped at a parking lot. He brandished a rifle at officers who had pursued him and was fatally shot.
Talley said investigators are looking at whether the shooter knew the victims. He refused to speculate, saying, “We don’t want to compromise any aspect of the investigation.”
Fort Detrick is home to the military’s flagship biological defense laboratory and several federal civilian biodefense labs. About 10,000 military personnel and civilians work on the base, which encompasses about 1,300 acres in the city of Frederick.
The suspect and both victims were stationed at the installation, though investigators did not say whether they knew one another before the attack.
“Every time you turn on the news, there’s something like this happening,” Lando said, noting the back-to-back mass shootings across the country in recent weeks. “We always hope that we don’t get that call, but today we got that call. Tomorrow it could be another agency, so it’s a sad fact of life but that’s that’s why we’re here.”
The shooting comes after a series of fatal shooting sprees around the nation, including a rampage last week at a Southern California office building that left four people dead.
Later Tuesday, police cordoned off Woldesenbet’s garden-style apartment building in Frederick City, a few miles from the site of the shooting.
A neighbor, Ava Target, said she knew Woldesenbet only by sight, and that he lived on the top floor of the apartment complex with a wife and two kids. She wasn’t aware of any problems.
Another neighbor, Rachel Tucker, said she saw police escort Woldesenbet’s wife and two young children from the apartment early Tuesday afternoon. She said she believed the family had lived in the apartment for about a year and she never noticed anything out of the ordinary.
The shooting led to a large response, from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to Maryland State Police.
Earlier, police posted on social media that officers were “on scene of an active shooter. The suspect is down. There are two victims with status unknown.”
Frederick Community College briefly went into a lockdown, tweeting that “this is not a drill.” But later the college said students and staff could return to normal operations: “The incident has been contained. There is no threat on FCC campus. ALL CLEAR.”
Some Frederick County public schools also were briefly locked down “due to police activity in the area,” the administration said. “All students and staff are safe. The lockout has been lifted.”
Frederick is city of about 70,000 people, about 50 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
Contributing: The Associated Press