Several hurt in shooting near US National Security Agency

FORT MEADE, Maryland, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Several people were injured during a Wednesday morning shooting at the U.S. National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the agency said.

The incident occurred about 7 a.m. ET (1200 GMT) when a vehicle tried to enter the U.S. Army installation that houses the agency without authorization, the agency said in a statement. It said shots were fired but that none of the injuries appeared to have been caused by gunshots.

The statement did not make clear whether the shots had been fired by a suspect or by law enforcement and officials at the NSA and Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the incident, did not respond to questions about who fired weapons.

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An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. NSA/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
FORT MEADE, MD - DECEMBER 01: An aerial view of the The National Security Agency on December 1, 2016 in Fort Meade, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
A helicopter view of the National Security Agency January 28, 2016 in Fort Meade, Maryland. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland outside Washington, DC. The NSA is the central producer and manager of signals intelligence for the United States. It operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense and reports to the Director of National Intelligence. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
The National Security Agency and Central Security Service (NSA CSS) building in Fort Meade, Md., (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
An aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Maryland. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
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"Weapons were discharged in the course of the incident, which remains under investigation," the agency said in a statement. "The situation is under control and there is no ongoing security of safety threat."

It said several people were taken to hospitals from the facility about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Washington.

Police earlier had searched a black sport utility vehicle with what appeared to bullet holes in its windshield, according to video from the scene. Items apparently removed from the vehicle were strewn on the ground and checked by a police dog.

Earlier media reports said that as many as three people had been wounded at the base, which is the home of the NSA, as well as the U.S. Cyber Command and Defense Information School.

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is one of the U.S. government's main spy agencies. The secretive agency focuses on using technological tools, including the monitoring of internet traffic, to monitor the government's adversaries.

A White House spokeswoman said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting.

Fort Meade is located just off a major Washington-area highway and motorists occasionally unintentionally take the exit that leads them to its gates, which are manned by armed guards.

In March 2015, two people tried to drive their sports utility vehicle through the NSA's heavily guarded gate. Officers shot at the vehicle when they refused to stop, killing one of the occupants. The people in the vehicle may have taken a wrong turn after partying and taking drugs, according to news reports. (Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert, Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott)

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