WASHINGTON – Three Bath Iron Works employees who are based near the Washington Navy Yard were safe and not affected by Monday’s mass shooting, a BIW official said.
The three employees are liaisons between BIW and the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, working out of offices for BIW’s parent company, General Dynamics. The office building is just a block from the edge of the large, heavily secured Navy yard but separated from it by an interstate overpass.
One of the BIW employees declined to comment when reached by phone at the Washington office Monday afternoon.
Rob Doolittle, spokesman for Fairfax, Va.-based General Dynamics, would not say whether employees were told to take shelter in place or take other action as law enforcement continued to investigate and search for any additional gunmen.
“We are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our employees,” Doolittle said.
In Bath, security guards at BIW were put on higher alert after the shooting.
“We got in touch with all of our guards at the entrances to our buildings,” said BIW spokesman Jim DiMartini. “We advised them about the incident and we instructed them to remain extra vigilant for anything suspicious.”
BIW is a major contractor for the Navy.
A spokeswoman for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery would not discuss security there in response to the shootings in Washington.
“We do not discuss specifics of our security measures at the installation,” public affairs officer Danna Eddy said in an email. “Our threat condition has not changed. We continually review and adjust security measures as appropriate.”
Eddy said the shipyard does not have any employees stationed at the Navy yard in Washington. The naval shipyard in Kittery repairs and maintains nuclear-powered submarines.
Maine’s congressional delegation expressed sadness at Monday’s events and condolences for the affected families.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who often works closely with Navy officials as a member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, suggested the incident should prompt an examination of security.
“This incident obviously raises serious security questions and concerns, including how exactly the heavily armed shooter or shooters gained access to the Navy Yard complex,” Collins said. “I have been to the Navy Yard several times … and access has always been tightly controlled. I will closely follow further developments as they unfold.”
Sen. Angus King said in a statement: “I commend the heroism of the first responders who rushed to the scene, and am thankful for our law enforcement officers whose continued vigilance helps to keep us safe.”
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said: “This tragic and senseless loss of life is only made worse by the fact that it appears at least some of the victims were serving the country in uniform. Although we may learn more details about the shooting and the motives behind it in the days ahead, the bigger question is what can we do to bring an end to these senseless acts of violence in the future.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud said: “This is a fluid situation, and the investigation remains active. While details unfold about this horrible incident, my thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted as well as the entire Navy and law enforcement communities.”
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