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Fort Meade says reports of active shooter were false, that base was conducting training exercise

Reporters calling Fort Meade on Thursday were accidentally mistaken for those participating in a training exercise, leading to false reports of an active shooter incident at the base.

Fort Meade’s Public Affairs Officer Chad Jones issued an apology for the confusion in a news release.

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“Fort Meade routinely practices how it would report incidents to media during its exercises,” Jones said. “Today’s incident was an unfortunate miscommunication between the installation and a few media outlets believed to be notional.”

The base was conducting an exercise Thursday, when multiple outlets reported that there was an actual active shooter incident there.

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A call from a media outlet went through Fort Meade’s Emergency Operations Center, where the exercise was conducted and the request was thought to be part of the exercise, Community Relations Chief Sherry Kuiper said in an email. As part of the exercise, they do get calls from people portraying the media to exercise their response, she said. It’s not clear what prompted media outlets to call in the first place, Kuiper said.

Reached by telephone after reports of a shooting that injured multiple people began circulating online, Fort Meade spokeswoman Angie Streets said there was an exercise ongoing but no actual shooting. One of the training exercises involved a shooting scenario and the reports may have stemmed from a miscommunication, she said.

Fort Meade did send out media advisories to local outlets ahead of the training exercise, CAPITAL SHIELD 21, and posted on social media. The agency said it will use the “unfortunate incident” to better prepare in case there is a real-world incident.

The Associated Press contributed to the article.

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