Walter Reed Locked Down, Appointments Canceled After Bomb Threat

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Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda Md.
This Nov. 27, 2018 photo shows Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda Md. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Update: At 1:15pm the base’s commanding officer lifted the shelter-in-place order for all locations effective immediately and authorized two gates to open for outbound traffic, the installation tweeted. At 2:45pm all gates returned to normal operations.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was placed on lockdown and appointments were canceled Wednesday after the base where the hospital is located received a bomb threat, officials said.

Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Maryland got an anonymous call at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday saying there was a bomb at or near Building 10, which is the main hospital building, the base posted on Twitter.

The hospital's Twitter account also said a "hazard exists" at the center, warning personnel and beneficiaries to "stay clear" of the hospital.

"Go indoors into the nearest building and shelter in place," the hospital instructed in a string of tweets. "All patient appointments have been cancelled. More details to come."

The hospital added, "Patients are encouraged to reschedule any appointments that were scheduled for today."

The hospital did not immediately respond to Military.com's request for more information on the lockdown and appointment cancellations. A spokesperson for the base directed Military.com to its social media feeds when asked for comment about the lockdown.

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As of 12:45 p.m., a shelter-in-place order remained in effect at Walter Reed, but was lifted in other locations at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, the installation tweeted, adding that two gates were open for outgoing traffic.

“The Walter Reed Bethesda shelter in place will be lifted building by building,” the base added. “Those inside should standby for further clarification.”

The base initially said it was also investigating the possibility of an active shooter. But it later posted, "At this time, there is no indication of an active shooter on the installation."

As of noon, K-9 teams were still searching the hospital, the base said. The initial search has been "expanded to additional hospital buildings," it added on Twitter.

-- Rebecca Kheel can be reached at Rebecca.Kheel@Military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ReporterKheel.

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