NORFOLK — Officials at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in nearby Portsmouth lifted a lockdown shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday, following what officials called a “false alarm” about an active shooter.
The active shooter report arrived nearly two hours after an unspecified threat was found scrawled on a restroom wall.
“At 9 a.m., a threatening message was found on a bathroom wall in the shipyard,” Michael Bradshaw, a spokesman for the shipyard, told Navy Times.
Shipyard police officers began canvassing the area. Then, at 10:55 a.m., the shipyard received reports of an “active shooter” there and workers were ordered to shelter in place while police continued their work, Bradshaw said.
But there have been no confirmed injuries or arrests and authorities said everyone was back at work by 1:42 p.m.
“Norfolk Naval Shipyard takes these threats very seriously and we will work with [the Naval Criminal Investigation Service] to fully investigate,” Bradshaw said.
Terri Davis, the spokeswoman for the shipyard, later told Navy Times that NCIS is treating the restroom threat and the active shooter report as separate incidents.
Neither Bradshaw nor Davis elaborated on what Thursday’s threatening message said, but the shipyard was the scene of similar incidents last year.
Officials found four messages over a 10-day period that began on May 22,. Then on Aug. 3 another message was discovered in a portable restroom. By the end of the year, authorities had compiled 10 messages, including a bomb threat.
NCIS offered rewards of up to $2,500 for help in locating the author of the messages but no one was arrested.
On Tuesday morning, the guided-missile cruiser Monterey received a bomb threat while it was being revamped at Marine Hydraulics Industries’ Ship Repair and Services yard in downtown Norfolk.
NCIS is probing that, too.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.