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

Bringing Tales Of WWII To American Radios And Bookshelves

Bill Shirer brought stories of war in Europe into American homes. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Ken Cuthbertson about his new book, A Complex Fate: William L. Shirer and the American Century.
NPR

Trickster Journalist Explains Why He Duped The Media On Chocolate Study

John Bohannon, the man behind a stunt that bamboozled many news organizations into publishing junk science on dieting, talks to NPR's Robert Siegel about why he carried out the scheme.
NPR

Martin O'Malley Set To Join The 2016 Race

The former Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor enters the Democratic race for president Saturday. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Juana Summers about how O'Malley will approach the campaign.
NPR

Tech Giants Compete ... For Your Vacation Albums

With ballgames, family reunions and trips to the beach, summer is full of chances to snap photos. Apple and Google are in a battle to help you store, organize and share all those visual mementos.

Leave a Comment

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