Reports of gunshots echoing from a berthing barge alongside the amphibious warship Carter Hall sparked a Thursday manhunt in Portsmouth but authorities never found a gunman and the search was called off after four hours.
The scare forced General Dynamics NASSCO workers on the repair pier to go into “lock down” mode to escape possible danger.
“Having thoroughly swept the barge adjacent to the USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and the ship itself, the combined security forces from the ship and the Portsmouth, Va. Police Department, found no evidence of an active shooter or shooting," said Naval Surface Force Atlantic spokesman Jim DeAngio in an email to Navy Times.
"They completed the combined sweep at 4 p.m. After the crew was all accounted for and debriefed, they departed for the day.”
Emergency dispatchers received a telephone call about a possible shooter at 11:46 a.m. Thursday, according to the Portsmouth Police Department.
Normally homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story in Virginia, the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship Carter Hall is undergoing maintenance at the shipyard along the Elizabeth River.
The Navy often relies on berthing barges that double as temporary barracks for crews when vessels receive extensive repairs.
General Dynamics NASSCO spokesman Dennis DuBard, a retired Navy captain, said that shipyard workers followed the company’s active shooter procedures.
Employees evacuated the pier, sought shelter in nearby designated buildings, and put the entire Harper Avenue Yard on lock down while law enforcement canvassed the site.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.