Allegations that Capitol Police were turned away at Navy Yard shootings

Posted at 11:57 PM, Sep 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-23 23:57:39-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- In Washington, a number of police agencies responded to the Washington Navy Yard as Aaron Alexis fired away in Building 197, killing a dozen people and injuring more.

However, members of the elite U.S. Capitol Police tactical team say a watch commander sent them back to the Capitol building while the situation was unfolding.

“It wouldn't be normal at that point to tell anyone to leave early on in a situation like that,” Steve Neal, former Chesterfield Police Captain, said.

Neal told CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall that if the allegation is true, it sounds like someone made a bad call.. He said it's all hands on deck during an active shooter situation, with all responding officers going in to stop the shooter.

Neal explained that  police agencies in Virginia and across the country changed their response tactics after the shootings at Columbine High, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary. He said that officers are left with very little room for waiting and planning.

“Back then, law enforcement would gather up at the scene and create a plan before going in,” he said.

Neal told CBS 6 that what makes this situation more bizarre is how early the officers claim they were turned away, especially a team that specifically trains for these scenarios at the U.S. Capitol, roughly a mile away.

Neal said that in Virginia officers on all levels are trained to do whatever they can to bring a dangerous situation, like the one at the Navy Yard, under control.

"Most officers that I know, even if they were told to stand down--if they thought they could save someone's life--I think they would take action in spite of what their orders were,” Neal said.

The investigation into exactly what occurred at the Navy Yard continues. CBS 6 will keep you posted.