Witness To Navy Yard Shooting Describes 'Surreal' Experience | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Witness To Navy Yard Shooting Describes 'Surreal' Experience

Play associated audio
Long-time Navy Yard engineer Doug Hughes describes the shooting as 'surreal.'
Martin Di Caro
Long-time Navy Yard engineer Doug Hughes describes the shooting as 'surreal.'

As the FBI continues to investigate the possibility of a second shooter in the attack at the Washington Navy Yard, witnesses of the event are trying to come to terms with what they saw and heard.

As it became clear that the incident, punctuated by "pop-pop-pops," was more than just a drill, Navy Yard engineer Doug Hughes says seniors chiefs ran in and told them shots had been fired and they needed to hunker down. Hughes found an office with a locking door, where he hid under a desk and tried not to think about what could happen to him.

Hughes described the situation as disorienting, since no information was immediately available to employees inside the building.

"You have no idea what's going on, you have no idea if you should be scared or not or what the heck," Hughes says.

Amidst the chaotic scene, Hughes was struck by an odd and particular observation.

"The stupid fire alarm had come on, which is an announcement — an automated announcement — it kept repeating itself over and over and over again," Hughes says. "I just kept praying that somebody would turn the damn thing off."

It's not clear whether the shooter Aaron Alexis had access to the building through his work as a Defense Department subcontractor or by an ID he had that belonged to a former Naval employee found on his body. Either way, Hughes says he considers security in the building to be excellent.

"I've never had any cause to complain or worry about it," Hughes says.

His hands were still shaking hours after the guns were silenced.

"It is kind of surreal when you're in it. You just have no idea what is going on, whether you should be scared or not," he says.

NPR

Centenarian Poet Was A Fearless Guide To 'The Country Of Old Age'

Poet and author Margaret Howe Freydburg died last week at 107; she wrote and published well past her 100th birthday. Her friend Nancy Slonim Aronie has an appreciation of a remarkable woman.
NPR

Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades.
NPR

Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Sen. Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted on corruption charges. These are the first criminal charges brought against a sitting U.S. Senator in seven years.
NPR

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

President Obama signed a new executive order that will allow the administration to freeze the assets of any individual or group involved in "malicious" cyberattacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.