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Shelter-in-place lifted after bomb threat locks down Navy base, Walter Reed hospital complex

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is seen shortly after the White House announced that President Donald Trump will be helicoptering to the hospital and “will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days” after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., October 2, 2020.

Joshua Robert | Reuters

A shelter-in-place order was lifted Wednesday afternoon at a U.S. Navy base just outside of Washington, D.C., hours after a bomb threat was made against Walter Reed Medical Center located there.

The order ended a lockdown at the base in Bethesda, Maryland, which had closed the facility’s gates to nonemergency traffic, according to tweets posted by the base and Walter Reed accounts.

The anonymous threat, which was called in at around 8:45 a.m., warned there was a bomb at or near Building 10 at Walter Reed, according to the Twitter feed of the Naval Support Activity Bethesda base.

The base later said there was no indication of an active shooter at the facility, despite an earlier tweet that said an active shooter threat was being investigated.

Walter Reed is a sprawling military hospital that is used by presidents of the United States and other government officials for treatment. Former President Donald Trump was hospitalized there last year when he contracted Covid-19.

“A hazard exists at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. All personnel and beneficiaries are directed to stay clear of Walter Reed Bethesda,” the hospital’s Twitter account warned.

The base later tweeted that “K-9 teams are in the process of clearing buildings at Walter Reed.”

Shortly before 1 p.m. ET, the base tweeted, “The Walter Reed Bethesda shelter in place will be lifted building by building. Those inside should standby for further clarification..

About 20 minutes later, the base tweeted, “UPDATE: The installation commanding officer has lifted the shelter in place for all locations effective immediately and has authorized the opening of Gates 1 and 3 for outbound traffic only.”

Kai Hibbard, a veteran who is at Walter Reed, told CNBC in a text message that she came to the campus for an appointment for her husband and was about to drive off the base when “everything locked down.”

“Loudspeakers announced that all personnel should get to the nearest building and shelter in place until the all clear is given,” said Hibbard, who found out about the reported bomb threat through social media.

“My husband and I are safe, sheltered in place and just watched the (what I assume is) bomb dog and [its] handler go through the parking lot,” Hibbard said.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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