NSA shooting: Officer injured at Fort Meade security gate, three in custody

The Baltimore Sun

Three people were injured at Fort Meade early Wednesday when the driver of an SUV attempted to enter the National Security Agency compound, authorities said.

Thursday update: 1 suspect transferred, 2 released »

The driver and two passengers in the black SUV were taken into custody after the incident shortly before 7 a.m. at Gate 1 on Canine Road off Maryland Route 32. A spokesman for the FBI’s Baltimore field office said late Wednesday that investigators are examining the possibility that the driver might have made a wrong turn into the complex, but it is not the only theory they are considering.

Injured were an NSA police officer, the driver of the SUV and a civilian bystander, said Gordon B. Johnson, special agent in charge for the FBI’s Baltimore office. He said the SUV had three occupants.

Johnson described the encounter as “an isolated incident."

“I cannot emphasize enough that we believe there is no indication that this has a nexus to terrorism,” Johnson said.

The FBI is taking the lead in the investigation. Johnson told reporters Wednesday that only limited information was available to be shared.

He said shots were fired during the incident, but did not believe any of the injuries were caused by gunfire. He would not say who opened fire, but said it appeared the gunfire was “directed at the vehicle.”

Authorities had not released the names of the people in the SUV Wednesday evening.

Johnson said all were male but he did not know their ages. Two occupants of the vehicle were in custody of the NSA. The driver was hospitalized.

“We are trying to talk to them to understand why they were here,” Johnson said.

The injuries to the police officer and civilian onlooker were not considered life-threatening, he said. He said he did not have information on the condition of the driver.

Johnson said the driver of the SUV attempted to enter the NSA campus at about 6:55 a.m. The vehicle had New York plates. Investigators believe it was a rental.

“This vehicle did come onto the NSA’s compound unauthorized,” Johnson said. “NSA police responded accordingly.”

Television footage showed the vehicle with bullet holes in the window, stopped against a white concrete barrier bearing the letters “NSA.”

Authorities shut Route 32 down in both directions at Canine Road during the morning rush hour. Anne Arundel County fire personnel assisted the Fort Meade Fire Department in clearing the scene around 8:45 a.m. The Maryland State Highway Administration reopened the road before 9 a.m.

Anne Arundel County school officials said operations at nearby Meade Senior High School were not affected.

President Donald J. Trump was briefed on the shooting, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said, and the White House offered thoughts and prayers with those who have been affected.

In March 2015, an NSA police officer shot and killed the driver of an SUV at an entrance to the agency’s campus.

In that case, authorities said the driver ignored orders to turn around and then accelerated toward an officer.

The officer shot at the vehicle, killing the driver and wounding a passenger.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Kevin Rector, Ian Duncan, Sean Welsh, Ellen Fishel and Rachael Pacella and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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