According to police and Navy officials, a US Navy medic shot and injured two sailors at a naval facility before fleeing to a nearby Army base, where he was shot and killed by security forces.
Authorities said they were still trying to figure out what prompted Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet, 38, to open fire at the facility in Frederick, Maryland, on Tuesday.
The assault comes after many high-profile attacks in the United States, including a shooting in Colorado that left ten people dead and a series of shootings in Georgia that left eight people dead, both in March.
“We’re still trying to… figure out exactly what the motive would be,” said Frederick Police Lieutenant Andrew Alcorn.
According to Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando, Woldesenbet shot the sailors with a rifle inside the facility at the Riverside Tech Park on Tuesday morning, forcing people inside to run.
According to Brigadier General Michael J Talley, Woldesenbet, a Navy medic assigned to Fort Detrick but living in town, drove to the base, where gate guards who had been given advance notice advised him to pull over for a search. Woldesenbet, on the other hand, raced away and made it about a half-mile into the installation before being intercepted by base police in a parking lot. Talley claims that when he pulled out a knife, the police shot and killed him.
The two sailors were airlifted to a hospital, according to Talley, who said they were assigned to Fort Detrick. One survivor is in critical but stable condition, while the other is in serious but expected to be released on Wednesday, according to police.
According to Talley, investigators will learn everything they can, including why the suspect returned to the base.
“(I) don’t know his mental status at the time, and we’re certainly going to find all that out,” he said.
The building where the shooting took place, according to the brigadier general, was not under his orders. He refused to name the facility or explain the work that was performed there in greater detail.
The military’s flagship biological defense laboratory, as well as several federal civilian biodefense laboratories, are located at Fort Detrick. The base, which covers about 526 hectares (1,300 acres) in Frederick, employs about 10,000 military and civilian personnel.
Scientists, military personnel, and their families flock to the base, which is a major economic driver in the region. Various defense contractors are based near Fort Detrick, according to Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor, and it is not uncommon for a member of the military to be off base and working for a private company that does business with the US government.
“When these incidents happen in other places, you’re always grateful that it’s not your community,” O’Connor added. “But you always know, perhaps in the back of your mind, that’s just luck – that there isn’t any reason why it couldn’t happen here. And today it did.”
Frederick’s police force Lieutenant Andrew Alcorn said the crime scene unit seized a number of things from Woldesenbet’s apartment, but he wouldn’t say what they were.
He said Woldesenbet’s wife had been at their Frederick City apartment earlier Tuesday, a few miles from the shooting scene, and that police had taken her in for questioning.