At least 12 people, including the gunman, are dead after a mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., on Monday. But one particularly vulnerable employee was saved thanks to the quick thinking of a resolute hero.
Officials say a suspect began shooting inside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters -- where 3,000 people work -- at 8:20 a.m. Several news outlets reported that a suspect barricaded himself inside room and a "shelter in place" order was issued for Navy Yard personnel.
As chaos erupted, and employees made a mad dash to safety, Omar Grant –- a civilian employee who was on the first floor of the atrium -– knew he had to move a little more carefully than the others if he were to save his seeing-impaired colleague, Lindwood, who was standing by his side when the gunshots started, Yahoo News reports.
Hi-res photo of Omar Grant, who led his blind colleague off the Navy Yard base when they heard gunshots. pic.twitter.com/e7sb1ozX8b
— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) September 16, 2013
"We heard two shots and started wondering if that was the sound of someone dropping something or if they were really shots," Grant told Yahoo News. "We heard three more shots and that's when people started running out of the building and getting the hell out of there."
While others ran for the exits, Grant took Lindwood, who declined to give his last name, by the arm and led him out of the building and to the train.
At a press briefing on Monday afternoon Mayor Vincent Gray coneyed the gravity of the situation. He noted that they weren’t certain if there were more shooters, but noted that there was no reason to think that that this was a terror attack. He also said that they will continue to engage in the investigation.
"It doesn't get much more serious than this," Gray said.