An investigation has been launched by the U.S. Capital Police into whether an elite tactical team “less than 30 seconds from the gate” was held back from responding to the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
Multiple sources from the Capital Police, speaking anonymously to the press, have said the four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT) was nearby when the initial call came in about an active shooter at 8:20 a.m. Monday.
The team was ready to enter the building and aid the Metropolitan Police, who were pleading for help, but a Capital Police inspector turned the team around.
A law enforcement source told WUSA9 that the team was just “30 seconds from the gate.”
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The Capital Police chief reportedly calls the team “America’s Police Force,” but the watch commander “wouldn’t let them go in and stop people from being slaughtered,” an angry officer told WUSA9.
“I don't think it’s a far stretch to say that some lives may have been saved if we were allowed to intervene,” a Capitol Police source familiar with the incident told the BBC.
One unidentified officer told the Washington Post that the officers’ union had filed a complaint.
“We were definitely the closest tactical team in the city,” the unidentified officer told the Post. “It was at the scene very early on, within a couple of minutes. They were ordered to disengage and turn back. For what reason, we don't know.”
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Capital Police Chief Kim Dine ordered an independent inquiry into the incident, and findings should be reported by Oct. 21.
“I take our response to this tragedy and our support to law enforcement partners very seriously,” Dine said in a statement. “While I am the Chief of Police, at my core I am a police officer who feels strongly about our shared commitment and responsibilities ... I place a high priority on law enforcement agency relationships and law enforcement coordination and communication.”