PMRF reacts to shooting

BARKING SANDS — The Pacific Missile Range Facility was under heightened security after Monday’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in D.C. that left 13 people dead.

Flags flew at half-staff at the Westside base Monday while armed security, dressed in blue, Navy-style camouflage, inspected visiting vehicles at the front entrance.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims,” said Capt. Bruce Hay, PMRF’s commanding officer.

Capt. Hay, who took over command of PMRF in July, said he has many friends and colleagues at the Navy Yard, and that he was “dreading” release of the victims’ names.

“With a great deal of trepidation I will read the list (of victims),” he said.

Capt. Hay said he awoke early to news of the shooting, which started about 8:20 a.m. in Washington, D.C. and immediately called the base’s security operations. Not long afterward, Capt. Hay sent out an email addressed to “Team PMRF.”

“I know that you watched the events of today at the Washington Navy Yard much like I did, with concern for the people on the Navy Yard and with concern for people on bases all across the country to include us,” he wrote.

Although the shooting quickly appeared to be an isolated incident, Hay said he directed certain precautionary measures be taken to ensure safety.

“The safety of the people who live and work at PMRF is paramount,” he wrote in the email. “In the unlikely event that something happens to threaten that safety, we will get immediate word out via all available means directing the safest course of action, from stay where you are, which is known as ‘shelter in place,’ to evacuation.”

Capt. Hay concluded the note by asking those at PMRF to keep the families of the victims in their thoughts and prayers.

On Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation ordering that flags at the While House, all public buildings and military and naval stations, posts and vessels, be flown at half-staff, a mark of respect for what he described as “senseless acts of violence.”

Although no memorial services or vigils are scheduled at PMRF, Capt. Hay said the U.S. colors at the base will remain below their summit, as ordered, through sunset on Sept. 20.

Flags at County of Kauai buildings will also remain at half-staff through the remainder of the week.

“Our prayers are with the victims, their families and friends, and the entire community as they deal with this terrible tragedy,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said. “We mourn with them and send our deepest aloha across the miles to aid in their healing.”

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