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2 Sailors Wounded After Navy Medic Opens Fire Near Fort Detrick, Deceased Suspect Identified

FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) -- An FBI-led investigation is underway into why a Navy medic shot two sailors near Fort Detrick Tuesday morning. The suspect, 38-year-old Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet, was shot and killed when he drove onto the base past a security checkpoint.

Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said Tuesday morning there was only one shooter. No threat remains to the community.

Police were called to Riverside Tech Park in the 8400 block of Progress Drive around 8:20 a.m. for an active shooter incident. The location is a warehouse rented by Naval Medical Research Center, Biological Defense Research Directorate to store research supplies and equipment.

When they arrived, officers found two people had been shot at a military office in the business park. The sailors were flown to Shock Trauma, where one remains in critical condition. The second victim was later released. Both victims are assigned to Fort Detrick and are active military.

Riverside Tech Park
A shot of Riverside Tech Park from chopper.

While police were responding to the shooting, they put out a BOLO for the suspect. Shortly thereafter, they learned personnel on the base had shot and killed someone fitting the suspect's description.

In a statement, Fort Detrick officials said, "Fort Detrick Police have neutralized an active shooter situation involving an armed gunman and medical lifesaving procedures were initiated. The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene."

"Our number one priority is the safety of our people," said U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick Commander Col. Dexter Nunnally. "Our emergency responders are well trained for these types of situations and the fast response of our military police enabled us to contain this threat quickly."

Woldesenbet was a Navy Hospital Corpsman, the U.S. Navy confirmed. He was on active duty but lived off-base in the City of Frederick. He used a rifle in the shooting, Lando said.

Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet
Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet. Credit: Frederick Police

The shooting happened in the Frederick business park located four miles from Fort Detrick. The suspect then drove to the base in a personally-owned vehicle. Woldesenbet was stopped at a gate, but before he was able to be searched, Army officials said he sped through about a half-mile into the base.

He was pursued by the Fort Detrick Police and stopped in a parking lot but pulled out a weapon. That's when he was shot and ultimately died around 8:45 a.m.


"The subject was stopped at the gate before he was able to be searched. He sped past the gate and made it about a half-mile into the installation. He was pursued immediately," Brigade General Michael Talley said.

Authorities asked that people avoid the area of Progress Drive and Opposumtown Pike as the investigation continued into the motive for the shooting.

Police did not say how the suspect and victims were linked or whether the motive was personal.

Watch the full press conferences below:

Several public schools in the area were placed on a brief lockdown Tuesday morning due to the shooting. The lockdown was later lifted since there was no longer a threat.

Frederick Shooting Scene Chopper
A shot of the Frederick shooting scene from DC area chopper

Frederick County Community College was also placed on lockdown.

Jeremy Mutschler, director of marketing for Nicolock Paving Stones, said the shooting was near the company's Frederick location, but not at the business itself.

"One of the victims, who was wounded, entered our facility looking for help and we were able to assist and call the authorities," said Mutschler, who is based in New York.

Gov. Larry Hogan released a statement Tuesday afternoon thanking first responders for how they handled the situation.

Chief Lando said these shootings are happening "too frequently."

"It's happening too frequently. Every time we turn on the TV we're seeing something like this happen, and now it's happening in our backyard," Chief Lando said. "No one wants to see this type of thing."

Frederick Mayor Michael O'Connor issued a statement. He said, in part:

"The Frederick community is in shock today as an incident of gun violence we see far too often in other communities has happened here. We are thinking of the victims, their families, and friends as both remain in stable condition in Baltimore. The Frederick Police Department responded quickly with great collaboration from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police, FBI, Fort Detrick, Frederick County's Division of Fire and Rescue Services, Frederick's Department of Public Works, and various other law enforcement agencies. Through this collaboration, multiple scenes were quickly secured and any broader threat to the community was quickly contained. I want to thank each of the agencies and their personnel for the outstanding response."

On Tuesday night, boxes of evidence were taken from Woldesenbet's apartment.

People like Carolyn Melmed recalled running into him around the complex.

"My daughter has seen him and said he was nice," Melmed told WJZ. "He always said hi. He was cordial."

Melmed said the scene at her apartment complex was hectic.

"Police officers were surrounding the building," she said. "We were told to stay in our units."

Police have not yet released a motive or said if this was a targeted shooting. The FBI is taking the lead in this investigation.

Some Associated Press reporting was used in this post.

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