Air Force base in hours-long lockdown after active shooter reports

Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base went into lockdown for several hours while security officials investigated reports of a shooter on the campus, but they eventually gave the all-clear early Friday morning.

Two individuals reported hearing one gunshot at the base just east of Dayton just after 9 p.m. Thursday, said Col. Patrick Miller, the Installation Commander at Wright-Patterson AFB. The report initiated a series of events leading to the lockdown.

Over the next four hours, officials from the 88th Airbase Wing said, responders conducted two sweeps of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, a three-story, 850,000-square-foot headquarters for the center described as the Department of Defense’s primary source for foreign air and space threat analysis.

The lockdown was lifted with the announcement of an all-clear around 1:40 a.m.

No threat was identified and no injuries were reported, Miller said. It was unclear whether the sound the two individuals heard was a gunshot. Miller declined to speculate on what caused the sound.

The sweeps of the NASIC involved multiple people so responders could search the entire building.

Air Force Base Lockdown
People wait in their cars inside the main gate of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during a lockdown late on September 10, 2021, in Dayton, Ohio. The base was put on lockdown due to a report of an active shooter but was later given the all clear. Jay LaPrete / AP

“It’s not a single master key that gets you into the door of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center,” Miller said. “And so it took multiple folks to come in and unlock some doors for our security forces to get through and sweep that area.”

About 100 people were working inside at the time, he said. Everyone got out safely.

Additional investigation was planned to determine the cause of the sound.

Miller said people at the facility have trained for lockdown situations, saying two active shooting exercises have been conducted there in the past year.

“It’s real until it’s over,” Miller said, according to CBS Dayton affiliate WHIO-TV. “At the end of the night, we did not find a threat.”

“Threat exist or not, this was a very real event,” WHIO reported Miller said.

The station quoted him as saying all the people inside the NASIC building barricaded themselves in rooms and closed doors and windows, adding that the mannerisms and tone of the people who reported the gunshot indicated “this was a true concern that they had, that they heard a gunshot and it needed reported.”

The commander said the base will walk through the entire scenario to see if there is anything that can be improved on but overall, “our training worked.”