Base officials say 2 sailors with pellet guns prompted lockdown at Naval Base Point Loma

Sailors taken into custody; lockdown lifted

SAN DIEGO - Two enlisted sailors playing with plastic pellet guns in their barracks at Naval Base Point Loma Thursday prompted a multi-agency security alert and wound up in custody.

Someone reported seeing the sailors pointing what appeared to be pistols out of a window near a parking structure at the Sylvester Road station shortly after 10 a.m., according to Navy officials. The men were apparently firing at a mirror on a wall of the structure.

Personnel were directed to secure themselves indoors while military police investigated. Also responding to the emergency were the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, San Diego police and a federal SWAT team.

One of those on base told 10News, "I heard pop, pop, pop; I heard shots fired. That's when all hell broke loose. They had SWAT teams and you name it; every federal agency that could be here was here."

The witness said about 70 people were locked down in a Subway restaurant on base. There were orders given over a bullhorn.

The witness said, "He said, 'The base is in lockdown, everybody get in right now, this is not a drill. Everybody get away from the windows.' Everybody was kind of confused; they were thinking it was an exercise. But then when we realized it was the real thing everybody was like, 'Oh my God!'"

He also spoke highly of the way the alert was handled, saying, "It was like clockwork, it was amazing how many people responded in such a quick manner."

Base officials said the "three-level approach is a standard response to a potential active shooter situation."

Officers arrested the two servicemen without incident about 12:30 p.m. and determined that they had been firing "Airsoft"-style pellet guns out of the window of their barracks, said Navy Capt. Scott Adams, commanding officer of the base.

Adams told reporters, "We are dealing with young sailors and we inform them what is and is not appropriate but sometimes these things happen."

Asked if he considered the guns dangerous, he replied, "From our perspective, no. But it may be unclear that it's considered a weapon. No weapons are permitted in barracks rooms but he may not consider it a weapon. He may not have understood or the language may not be exactly clear."

It was unclear if the detainees, whose names were not released, might face any criminal charges over their conduct.

The base had shifted back into normal operations by 2 p.m., Adams said.

"The safety and security of our personnel and resources are our primary concerns," said Adams. "The multi-agency task force performed flawlessly. The situation ended without incident."

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