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Civilian seizes gun, shoots sailor at Virginia naval station; 2 dead

A civilian shot a sailor to death aboard a destroyer at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, then was killed by security officials, authorities said Tuesday.

The suspect had permission to be on base, but it was unclear whether he had permission to board the Mahan, the destroyer that was docked at Pier 1, according to Navy officials. Neither the dead civilian nor the dead sailor was identified.

“I’d like to say that our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members of those affected by the tragic event last night,” Capt. Robert Clark, commanding officer of the station, told reporters at an early morning news conference aboard the ship.

Monday’s incident comes after the September mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard when Aaron Alexis gunned down 12 Navy civilian personnel and contractors before being shot to death.

The incident began about 11:20 p.m. Monday when the civilian approached the quarterdeck of the ship, according to the Navy. There he was confronted by security, a struggle followed and the civilian ended up with a military weapon.

The civilian then fired on and killed a sailor. Security forces then shot and killed the civilian, the military said.

As a precaution, Naval Station Norfolk was put on lockdown for about an hour.

By Tuesday morning, operations were back to normal.

Officials said they are continuing to investigate.

The shooting comes about a month after the Navy held anti-terrorism and protection exercises on bases around the United States, including an active-shooter drill at the Norfolk station.

Norfolk is one of the largest naval installations in the world, situated on more than 6,000 acres. About 46,000 military and 21,000 civilian employees are assigned there.

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