Armed Navy personnel near Building 26 at Naval Medical Center San Diego. REUTERS / Mike Blake
Armed Navy personnel near Building 26 at Naval Medical Center San Diego. REUTERS / Mike Blake

An unfounded report of shots fired Tuesday morning at Naval Medical Center San Diego in Balboa Park prompted a lockdown of the facility and nearby schools as law enforcement officers flooded the area and police dogs searched a building.

Around 8 a.m., a witness reported hearing three shots come from the basement of building 26, which houses a gym and barracks, according to Navy Region Southwest.

Military police and service dogs conducted an initial search, then turned to a more thorough floor-by-floor sweep, according to Navy officials. No evidence of a shooting was found.

“We did an initial clearing of (Building 26) and found nothing that … would indicate any kind of dangerous situation,” Capt. Curt Jones, commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego, told reporters during a late-morning briefing. “But we are going back through, and now we’re actually extracting people out of the building and ensuring that there is no threat.”

Naval Medical Center San Diego. Department of Defense photo

A message on the hospital’s Facebook page initially said: “All occupants are advised to run, hide or fight. All non-emergency response personnel are asked to stay away from the compound, located at 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, San Diego, CA 92134.”

A later message advised: “Investigation still ongoing at NMCSD. All personnel continue to remain clear of NMCSD and follow all instructions of law enforcement personnel.”

Shortly after 9 a.m., Navy officials announced that the entire complex had been secured, including its childcare facilities, and no one was being allowed access. All children were said to be accounted for and safe.

Nearby Roosevelt Middle, and Garfield and San Diego High schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution, according to the San Diego Unified School District. The lockdown was later lifted, as was a subsequent order for students to shelter in place.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman praised the handling of the incident by Navy and local law enforcement authorities.

“We’re all grateful that it didn’t turn out to be an active shooter, but if it had been, what you saw is we’re very prepared as a region,” Zimmerman said.

The medical center is one of the most advanced treatment facilities in the Navy and dates back to 1917.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.