Remembering the 12 people killed Sept. 16, 2013

Union Criticizes Capitol Police for Calling Back Unit From Navy Yard

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    Heavily armed police officers respond to a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard September 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    The U.S. Capitol Police union confirmed Capitol Police called a unit away from the active shooter scene at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard Sept. 16, as News4's Pat Collins reported last week. 

    "It has been reported that management on the Capitol Police ordered its CERT (Containment Emergency Response Team) unit to leave the scene of an active shooter," read a statement from USCP Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee Chairman James Konczos said. "Based on the Union’s conversations with our officers, this is true."

    Capitol Police officers with experience and training for such incidents were at the scene and in contact with D.C. police shortly after 8:20 a.m. until they were ordered back to the Capitol Complex, according to Konczos.

    "They were prepared to risk their lives to save the lives of the shooter’s victims but were prevented from doing so," he said in his statement.

    Navy Yard Memorial

    [DC] Navy Yard Memorial
    Thousands gathered in southeast D.C. for a memorial service for the 12 Navy Yard shooting victims. President Obama addressed mourners and condemned gun violence. News4's Darcy Spencer has more from the Marine Barracks. (Published Sunday, Sep 22, 2013)

    He said it's impossible to determine if the outcome of the mass shooting -- in which gunman Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 Navy employees and wounded eight other people -- would have been different, but he added, "Had CERT been given the authority to engage, the outcome may have been very different."

    "While the department maintains that 'resources' were offered to MPD, it is unfathomable to believe that offer would be denied since other federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Park Police were assisting on the scene," the statement said.

    The decision demoralized and embarrassed offiers throughout the department, not just those called away from the scene, Konczos's statement said.

    Konczos said the "poor judgment" continued with the Capitol Police Board deciscion to secure Senate side but not the House side.

    Capitol Police confirmed last week an independent investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding their response to the shootings with findings to be released by Oct. 21.

    "I asked the Capitol Police Board to do an independent fact review of those allegations to find out exactly," Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine told News4 Wednesday. "That morning I was in contact with [DC Police] Chief Lanier and offered assistance."

    The gunman was eventually shot and killed by patrol officers from D.C. Police and U.S. Park Police.

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