According to a statement from Capitol Police Lt. Kim Schneider, Police Chief Kim Dine has “opened preliminary investigation into the allegations” that a supervisor told a Capitol Police CERT team to stand down and not engage the shooter as an early response to the active shooter situation unfolding at the Navy Yard Monday.
The investigation is a reaction to allegations first reported by the BBC that a heavily armed four-man Capitol Police Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT) was among the first tactical officers to arrive on the scene.
However, they were reportedly told by a watch commander to stand down and not engage the shooter.
The BBC and several other media outlets report that a heavily-armed Capitol Police squad was one of the first to respond to the Navy Yard at about 8:20 a.m. Monday, just after Aaron Alexis opened fire on the grounds of the base.
However, the BBC says that the team was told to leave the scene of the shooting instead of providing mutual aid to a litany of other law enforcement agencies that were responding as well.
The CERT team would have arrived armed with military-style assault weapons and would be wearing body armor as they are similar to a SWAT Team. Lt. Schneider was unable to comment beyond confirming the investigation, but says the agency did provide “mutual support” during the Navy Yard incident. She was not able to elaborate on what type of support was provided.
MPD Spokeswoman Gwen Crump backed away from her quote in the BBC article, saying she is not able to comment on whether or not the USCP CERT Team was ordered to stand down by a Capitol Police watch commander. She confirmed that she cannot comment on another agency’s investigation.
Crump added that her quote pertained to questions about MPD’s response—though she refused to elaborate. She did say, “We had officers at the base within two minutes and entered within seven minutes.”
The Capitol Police are principally charged with protecting the capitol complex, and were responsible for responding to the lockdown of the Senate side of the Capitol during the incident Monday.
According to BBC, the investigation will likely include a review of radio traffic to determine if such a “stand down” order was given and by whom.
Twelve people were shot and killed during the rampage in what was one of the deadliest shootings on a military instillation in United States history. Alexis was also shot and killed by responding officers.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, the U.S. Capitol Police Board wrote:
The review team will conduct its work and report its findings and recommendations to the Capitol Police Board and Chief Dine no later than October 21, 2013.