WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gunman using what investigators believe was a high-velocity rifle fired up to seven shots at the Pentagon early on Tuesday, shattering two windows but injuring no one.
No suspects have yet been identified in the morning incident, the first shooting at the Pentagon since a lone gunman in March shot and wounded two security officers near a Pentagon entrance, and was killed in the process.
Director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Steven Calvery said he considered the shooting to be “a random event” and did not foresee any new security measures.
But he added that the investigation was continuing and that authorities were looking for any possible link to a shooting over the weekend at the nearby National Museum of the Marine Corps, which also only caused minor damage to the building.
“Right now we consider this just a random event. But if our investigation and others’ ascertain that it’s part of a larger incident, we would have to evaluate that,” Calvery told a Pentagon news briefing.
The Pentagon was one of the targets of the September 11, 2001 attacks and Calvery said the Joint Terrorism Task Force was assisting in the Pentagon investigation, along with local police.
Still, it appeared as if investigators had little firm initial evidence. No bullet casings have been found or suspects identified. While investigators believe a high-velocity rifle was used, ballistic tests still needed to be done.
Pentagon police in the vicinity of the South parking lot heard five to seven shots fired at about 4:55 a.m. (0855 GMT). They closed-off access to the Pentagon for 45 minutes, refusing to let people in or out, until they deemed the area safe.
Authorities later discovered that two of the Pentagon’s protective exterior windows were shattered — but not penetrated — by two of the shots. The offices at the U.S. military’s headquarters had been undergoing renovation and were unoccupied.
“We believe that there may have been other bullet strikes on the building,” Calvery said, adding checks were underway.
Editing by Sandra Maler