Monday morning's fatal shootings at the Washington Navy Yard are no abstraction in D.C. The site is within long walking distance of the U.S. Capitol building. Many members of Congress live nearby. And baseball fans routinely pass by the massive military installation on the way to Washington Nationals games.
So the tragedy, including at least 12 fatalities, according to U.S Navy and Metro Police officials, hits close to home for the nation's leaders.
President Barack Obama condemned it as a "cowardly act" and vowed that federal and local law enforcement officials would work together to hold accountable those responsible for the shooting.
"We still don't know all the facts," Obama cautioned, speaking before a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the economic crash.
"We are confronting yet another mass shooting and today it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital," he said. The victims "are men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us. They are patriots. They did not expect to be attacked at home while in their offices."
Law enforcement will aim to be "seamless so that federal and local authorities are working together whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."
The shooting took place at the yard at around 8:20 a.m. EST. Shots were fired at the headquarters for the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building #197. At least ten people, including at least eight civilians, one D.C. police officer and one base officer, were shot.
The United States Navy continued to tweet throughout the ordeal, revealing that a shelter-in-place order had been instructed after the initial shots were fired. Multiple schools have been locked down, and many roadways and bridges have been closed. At least three victims, a male police officer and two female civilians, were in critical condition and are being treated at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
The Washington Navy Yard holds iconic status in U.S. military history and Washington, D.C. lore. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy, dating back to 1799.
The Yard currently serves as a ceremonial and administrative center for the U.S. Navy, home to the Chief of Naval Operations, and is headquarters for the Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Historical Center, the Department of Naval History, the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps, Naval Reactors, Marine Corps Institute, the United States Navy Band, and other more classified facilities.
During the War of 1812, the Navy Yard was important not only as a support facility, but also as a vital strategic link in the defense of the capital city. During the American Civil War, the Yard once again became an integral part of the defense of Washington.
The Yard later manufactured armament for the Great White Fleet and the World War I navy. By World War II, the Yard was the largest naval ordnance plant in the world. The weapons designed and built there were used in every war in which the United States fought until the 1960s.