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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

D.C. Residents Respond To Shooting

Staff Reporters |
September 16, 2013 | 6:35 p.m. PDT

Washington Navy Yard sign/ Creative Commons
Washington Navy Yard sign/ Creative Commons
Many restaurants and businesses around the Washington Navy Yard were evacuated immediately after the shooting. Some remained open, and some took precautions. 

Neon Tommy reporters have been calling businesses and possible witnesses around the surrounding area.

“Everything is Back to Normal Now,” Restaurant Manager says about Shooting

The Belga Café, located near the area of the shooting, remained open during and after the tragedy today, but took necessary precautions to keep their employees and guests safe.

“All streets were closed for a while,” says restaurant manager Peter Kridler. “Our restaurant stayed open, but we obviously had a lot less guests today than we normally do. But we had business.”

As soon as the shootings happened, members of the police force told surrounding businesses to take precautionary measures:

“We obviously took precautions and locked the back doors because we were told that there were two shooters at large,” says Kridler. “We went upstairs to keep everyone safe, but yeah, we remained open.”

Kridler says that everything is “pretty much back to normal now:”

“Everything is back to how it was. People are still coming into our restaurant.”

The Belga Café is located at 514 8th St SE, Washington DC. 20003. It is located 0.3 miles away from the Navy Yard. 

- Beatrice Verhoeven 

DC settles, but businesses remain closed 

An employee at Kruba Thai and Sushi, less than a mile away, apologized and said they were closed, but hoped to reopen tomorrow. The employee said he feels safe and wasn't in a hurry to leave. He said the area surrounding the restaurant was open, "not locked", but that the area was deserted, and no customers had come in trying to find something to eat.

Other businesses in the area also closed early. The National Museum of the United States Navy took to their Twitter account to alert followers of a "security incident" this morning, tweeting that they would be closed until further notice. At the time, they anticipated reopening this afternoon or Tuesday morning but later tweeted that the museum will stay closed through Tuesday as well. The museum is located on Dahlgren Avenue, right across the street from the navy yard. 

DC area resident Ruby Pritchard says that the local news coverage has shifted its focus to monitoring the closures and evacuations. Workers at the yard were evacuated to nearby arenas in shuttle buses, where relatives could go to meet them and pick them up. She said that, for her, it has quieted down--she didn't go into town at all today, but received phone calls all day from concerned friends and relatives. 

- Jenna Pittaway 

D.C. Residents Want Stronger Gun Control 

Residents of the nation’s capital are recovering from the aftermath of another massacre and push for stronger gun control laws. 

“People are really upset,” said Denise Cook, a D.C. resident. “But I don’t think people are showing a lot of emotion right now because everyone is still in shock. I heard one woman say that she is ready to leave D.C. because of everything that has happened.”

This brutal attack at the Navy Yard, which is supposed to have a high level of security, is especially surprising. Cook feels that gun control is a logical solution to end the continuous cycle of gun violence. 

“The United States needs to pass more restrictive legislation,” she said. “These shootings keep happening over and over and no one does anything about it. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m just waiting for the next incident to happen.”

- Gabi Duncan

‘No one deserves to have their fate chosen for them at the hands of another person in this nature.’

Isaac Bawuah gives his reaction on the Navy Yard shooting in our nation’s capital:

“First and foremost, I’m sending the utmost prayers and condolences to the victims, their loved ones, and those adversely affected by the shooting. I heard the news around 11:30am (EST) via the BBC News and CNN apps on my iPad. I live and work in Herndon, Virginia (which is about 35 minutes away from the city), but at the time the news broke, I was at a restaurant with parents and cousin on our family trip to Ghana. I have many friends, classmates, and fraternity brothers who stay in DC. No one deserves to have their fate chosen for them at the hands of another person in this nature. 

I question why there seems to be a wave of fatal incidents that have been taking place. Issues like this go beyond logical explanation sometimes, but I think we need to find ways to ensure that incidents like this one at the Navy yard, or any other ones, never occur. But nonetheless, we can take use these incidents to develop character and strength as a nation.”

- Joshua Adams

Occupants of a bed & breakfast flee, while members of the armed forces stay under lockdown. 

Local residents near the Washington Navy Yard were on lock down into the early afternoon following this morning’s shooting. Many local businesses evacuated as soon as police, swat teams, and sirens from the many government organizations in the area began to sound.  Many local grocery stores phone lines simply rang on end or had voicemail messages explaining the reason for their closure. Other places of business, like hotels and rentable residences, had to stay open and cater to their occupants. 

Captain Apollo of Casa degli Angeli, received shocked calls from his tenants this morning. Apollo, the owner of a bed and breakfast establishment three blocks from the site of the shooting, says “we had a shut-down in the area.” The shut down he is referring to suggested that nobody leave his or her residence. Many worried residents, like those who reside in Casa degli Angeli, took a chance and escaped their residence to catch the closest subway to get away from the area as soon as possible. 

This area is not only home to many Washington residents, but also contains headquarters for the Washington Humane Society and the US Department of Transportation. Many of the government offices in the area had their own protocol for shutdown and evacuation. Apollo adds, “one of my residents is a marine over at the barracks, and they wouldn’t let him come home until 3:00 in the afternoon” due to this morning’s events. This was the case for the several employees and members of the armed forces in the locality. 

- Tahsin Hyder 

Sandwich Shop Closed, Hotel Remains Open. 

Cornercopia Sandwiches, a Washington D.C. restaurant about four blocks from the navy yard, closed its doors to the public after the Washington Navy Yard shooting earlier today. The owners left an answering machine message clarifying their situation.

“Thank you for calling Cornercopia, due to the events in the Navy Yard, we will be closed today, September 16. We will reopen tomorrow with our normal business hours from 8 am to 8 pm. If you’d like to leave us a message, do so after the tone. Thanks and be safe.”

Businesses slightly further from the incident were less affected, but had some minor setbacks. 

Ann Terry, the manager at Hotel Harrington, a family owned and operated hotel about 3 miles from the navy yard said she hardly experienced any problems. “Only one or two employees took longer to get to work,” said Terry. “There was more traffic than usual.”

- Michael Nystrom

Tight Military Security Fails but One Café Remains Open

At least 13 people have died today after a mass shooting at Washington Navy Yard, one of the most heavily secured buildings in Wash., D.C.. Ralph Moorhead, a retired navy warrant gunner, says, “[in order to get onto the Navy Yard], one must have a military or civil service ID; visitors must be sponsored by one of the commands on the base and be on the access list.” In addition, visitors must present a visitor’s badge upon entrance. With security this tight, how did Aaron Alexis, one of the alleged shooters, attain access into the Washington Navy Yard? That question remains unanswered.

The shootings not only affected those on the Navy Yard, but also the surrounding restaurants. Though many restaurants have chosen to evacuate their customers and personnel, Justin’s Café has decided to stay open. Justin, the owner of Justin’s café, a restaurant only a few blocks away from Washington Navy Yard, said, “Today was just a crazy day. We’ve been here all morning, and it was actually really slow [until the shootings]. To be honest, we thought that President Obama had barricaded the area. A lot of people who come into our restaurant work at the Navy Yard, and we just don’t know if they’re ok.”

- Janelle Cabuco

D.C. Schools Remain Cautious After Shooting

Most universities remain open, but some public schools have shut down

College campuses in the Washington D.C. metro area took extra precautions today following the deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

Sergeant Aaron Davis of the University of Maryland, College Park's Dept. of Public Safety and University Police said cameras are monitoring the area 24/7 for anyone who may be on the watch list and that officers are standing by.

"We're patrolling areas where students congregate like the union and dorms as well as nearby off-campus areas," Davis said.

Though the campus is on alert, it did not shut down, and classes continued as usual.

"It's hard to predict, especially with a tragedy like that," Davis said.

An American University Public Safety employee also confirmed that their campus remained open, as well.

Area public schools, however, took greater precautions.

Jesselyn Radack, National Security and Human Rights Director at the Government Accountability Project tweeted, "One week into D.C. school year and my kids are already on lock-down because of yet another gun massacre. #GunControlNow."

- Cassie Paton

Restaurant Stays Open During Rampage

Thirteen people were announced dead due to the shooting rampage at the United States Navy yard in Washington D.C. earlier today. The attack has killed a dozen civilians and forced many businesses to close down. 

Restaurants, bars, and businesses on the block of South Capitol Street SE through 1st Street SE had been shut down. Businesses spreading blocks down from the closed off streets of South Capitol and 1st Street, were not the only ones who ended their shift early today. 

Although many businesses closed down for safety reasons, some businesses decided to stay open to please their customers. The Old Siam Restaurant, located six blocks from the area of the shooting, decided to stay open for the day instead of evacuating. 

Business owners who are blocks away from the shooting were not aware of what was happening until they turned on the television and saw the news. The manager of The Old Siam Restaurant was one of them. She explained that she got to work around 10:30 in the morning to find out what was happening blocks away from them through watching the news.

She said that she was not scared, but shocked that the tragedy happened near the restaurant.

The owner of the restaurant decided not to close down the restaurant for his own reasons.

- Yeo Jin Lee

Candlelight Vigil Honors Those Lost at D.C. Navy Yard

Melissa Beng could see the glow of candles once she stepped outside Avenue Grill, an American food restaurant located in Freedom Plaza and her place of work. A candlelight vigil was held tonight in the heart of Washington D.C. to honor the 13 lives lost in this mornings Navy Yard shooting. 

Project to End Gun Violence organized the vigil and invited members of the Washington D.C. community to morn the lost lives and take a breathe after the panic that erupted around the city earlier today. 

Beng described the scene as small but calming. At 7:45pm, 15 minutes after the planned start time, the group participating was a mere 20-30 people. The group quietly listened as various speakers voiced their condolences within the group. No stage, no chanting, just the sight of community members focused on what the speaker had to say. According to DCist, Eddie Weingart, founder and chair of the Project to End Gun Violence planned to speak at the vigil. 

Beng explained that from inside the restaurant, she could not hear the members of the vigil and it wasn’t until she stepped outside that she could see the scene.

Zach Montellaro attended the event as a reporter for the GW Hatchet and described the scene as having “more media people there than people for the vigil.”  

Beng said from what she knew the vigil had not affected businesses around the area in any way. The size of the crowd visiting the Avenue Grill restaurant was typical of a Monday and seemed unphased by the tragedy. Despite the vigil outside, to her it seems D.C. life has returned to its normal state.

- Erin MacLeod


See more of Neon Tommy's coverage of The Washington Navy Yard shooting here. 



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