Some Officers Responding to Shooting Couldn't Communicate - NBC4 Washington

Remembering the 12 people killed Sept. 16, 2013

Some Officers Responding to Shooting Couldn't Communicate



    no description (Published Friday, Sept. 20, 2013)

    News4 has learned some of the police officers responding to Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard couldn't communicate with each other.

    Twelve people died and eight others were injured when 34-year-old Aaron Alexis opened fire inside Building 197 at Navy Yard Monday morning around 8:20 a.m.

    Days after the shooting, details about police and fire responses are slowly trickling out. News4 I-Team learned many ambulances responding to the shooting were not staffed with paramedics.

    Most recently, News4 has learned many of the police officers from various jurisdictions who rushed into Building 197 in pairs were not able to communicate with each other -- D.C. Police have a state-of-the-art digital system, while the other jurisdictions' officers have handheld radios. 

    "If one team was on one level, and you had another team on a higher level, they couldn't talk about what was going on, or communicate where the shooter was," Andy Maybo with the Fraternal Order of Police told News4 Friday.

    Maybo said that led to the uncertainty following Alexis' capture -- whether or not a second, or even third, gunman was on the loose. 

    For example, Naval District of Washington officers could not use their radios to call for help that morning -- they had to call 9-1-1 on their cell phones.

    Improving inter-agency communication became a nation-wide goal following 9/11, but Maybo said many smaller police departments and federal bureaus in the District can't secure the type of funding that D.C. Police have.  

    "Some police agencies have radios that are meant for tow trucks and cab drivers," he said.