The two people who were critically wounded by the shooter were airlifted to a hospital, Lando said. A spokeswoman for Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore did not immediately respond to an email asking for an update on their conditions.
The gunman drove through a gate at an entrance to the base before military personnel confronted him on a road inside, said Fort Detrick spokeswoman Lanessa Hill.
“It wasn’t that long after he came through the gate” that the shooter was stopped, Hill said. “Not even a quarter of a mile.” She said Frederick police had given base officials advance notice, “so we knew that he was out there.”
Fort Detrick is home to the military’s flagship biological defense laboratory and several federal civilian biodefense labs. About 10,000 military personnel and civilians work on the base, which encompasses about 1,300 acres (526 hectares) in the city of Frederick.
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said the base is a huge economic driver in the region, drawing scientists, military personnel and their families to the community. O’Connor noted that various defense contractors are based near Fort Detrick and it wouldn’t be unusual for a member of the military to be off base and working with a private firm that does business with the U.S. government.
“When these incidents happen in other places, you’re always grateful that it’s not your community,” O’Connor added. “But you always know, perhaps in the back of your mind, that that’s just luck — that there isn’t any reason why it couldn’t happen here. And today it did.”
By early afternoon, the Nallin Farm gate at Fort Detrick through which the shooter entered remained closed and two officers were standing by.
Mark Nelson, a firefighter who lives in a row of townhomes across the street from the base, said he heard the base blast warning sirens Tuesday morning.
“I heard, I don’t know what they call it, but they were like air raid sirens, and I knew something was going on,” Nelson said.
Lando called the shootings “very tragic.”
“It’s happening too frequently,” he said. Every time we turn on the TV we’re seeing something like this happening. And now it’s happening in our backyards.”