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Navy Yard shooting witnesses describe how they survived

Posted at 11:23 PM, Sep 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-17 23:32:43-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVR) -- As evening set on Southeast M street Tuesday, those passing the main gate of the Washington Navy Yard could see a still active crime scene. Investigators could be seen still circling the yellow crime tape surrounding building 197, the site of Monday's deadly shooting rampage.

"It was pretty much the worst day of my life," said civilian defense contractor Sam Agger.

Agger was inside building 197 in a conference room meeting when he heard the first gunshot.

"For the next period of time we were doing a combination of lying on the ground, putting a huge heavy conference room table wedged up against the door, locking the door and turning off all the lights," said Agger.

After more than an hour Agger and his held up colleagues were led out of the building by authorities but not before passing the gruesome crime scene and walking above their fallen colleagues.

"I looked at the carpet and there was blood and we went that way and there was a lady lying on the ground," recalled Agger.

Tuesday sparse traffic could be seen coming and going from the Navy yard, many like Agger came to retrieve belongings like cars and cell phones that they were forced to leave behind Monday in their frantic departure. More than 24 hours after the incident, those returning admitted that the time had brought sadness and perhaps even guilt for being among the unharmed.

"I just feel for my colleagues that's all and I just worry about them; don't really care about anything else," said David Berlin, defense contractor.

Investigators gave a briefing Tuesday afternoon to explain that it is believed suspected shooter Aaron Alexis acted alone. Still many questions remain about why he acted at all. But those from building 197 can only believe it act of a miracle that allowed them to make it out.

"Those of us who are able to speak, who are able to hug our families, we are the lucky ones," said Agger.