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Report of active shooter at JBLM was ‘miscommunication’ during training exercise

Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron, pack up after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign at the entrance of the base Sunday. (Abner Guzman/U.S. Air Force)

A report of an active shooter Thursday morning at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was actually a “miscommunication” during a training exercise for active shooter situations, according to a base spokesperson.

Military police responded about 10 a.m. for a report of an active shooter near Lewis North, an area of the base northwest of Interstate 5 near American Lake. Police went to that area and found no evidence of an active shooter.

Base spokesperson Gary Dangerfield said someone had overhead “active shooter, active shooter,” while a unit was conducting training and called 911.

“Our military police were responding to a call and doing what they needed to do to secure the area and keep us all safe,” Dangerfield said.

Dangerfield apologized for the false alarm. JBLM was not put on an official lockdown, but the report caused some at the base to take cover.

Bruce Wong, 69, said his younger sister, who works as a special education teacher at JBLM, texted him at about 10:30 a.m., telling him she’d heard the whole base was locked down and that she was hiding under her desk.

“I started texting my family to make sure that they knew,” Wong said. “We had a whole set of text messages between our brothers and her: ‘stay under the desk, grab something just in case, barricade the door.'”


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