A shooting in a Frederick business park in April, where a sailor from Fort Detrick allegedly shot two other soldiers, was targeted, Frederick police said on Wednesday. But key questions remain unanswered in this case and the fatal shooting that followed on the gunman by civilian police at Fort Detrick.
News that the shooting was targeted, sent to the News-Post on Wednesday by the Frederick Police Department, marks the first substantial media update since April. Answers as to motive and details of the shooter’s relationship with the victims remain unknown.
The injured were Navy Hospital Member Casey Nutt, 26, from Germantown, and Hospital Corps Member 1st Class Carlos Portugal, 36, from Frederick. The Naval Medical Research Center, through its spokesperson Tommy Lamkin, said on Wednesday that the victims and Woldesenbet were in the same department and regularly worked closely together. Lamkin was unable to comment on the military’s state of health, but confirmed that Portugal was no longer hospitalized. Nutt was released on the day of the shooting.
“The Frederick Police Department generally does not release investigative information while cases are open,” Lt. Jon Holler, commander of the FPD’s Criminal Investigations Division, said in a written statement. “However, due to the public scrutiny of this matter, we can confirm that detectives have determined that this event was a targeted incident and that it was not a random shooting. However, we cannot comment more specifically on Mr Woldesenbet’s motives. The FPD has worked with the FBI and other partner agencies to assist them in their investigation. However, as the investigation is still ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further. “
Nutt and Portugal were working inside a warehouse rented and used for storage by the Naval Medical Research Center, Biological Defense Research Directorate, according to the Frederick Police Department. Woldesenbet, of the 100 block of Willowdale Drive in Frederick, allegedly shot Nutt and Portugal, then immediately proceeded to Fort Detrick, where civilian police at the station shot him dead after he allegedly showed a gun.
Before the shooting, Woldesenbet seemed to show no sign of what was to come.
“There was no visible indication or change in behavior that would have alerted us to his actions,” Lamkin wrote in an email. “We are not aware of any issues in his past.”
Joy Jiras, spokesperson for the FBI in Baltimore, said on Wednesday that the Baltimore field office investigated the shooting involving an officer at Fort Detrick and reported its findings to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Maryland District. She wrote in an email that the FBI was unable to answer further questions.
Registration requests refused
Under federal freedom of information and confidentiality laws, the News-Post requested access to documents relating to the events of April 6 from investigative agencies. Fort Detrick referred the News-Post to the FBI, which denied the newspaper’s request. FPD also rejected the News-Post’s request.
The October 5 FBI letter, signed by Section Chief Michael G. Seidel, states: âThe material you requested is in an investigative file that is exempt from disclosureâ¦ files or information compiled to law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information can reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.
The FBI letter cites the Freedom of Information Act denial.
On October 14, FPD rejected the News-Post’s request for a copy of the investigation into the Woldesenbet shooting. The email reads: âThis investigation is currently open and ongoing and we are therefore refusing your request for a copy of the record. “
The News-Post posed further questions to the FBI and FPD, including questions about Woldesenbet’s relationship with Nutt and Portugal, a motive, how Woldesenbet got the gun, and more questions. The agencies did not answer these questions.
Details of the exchange between Woldesenbet and Fort Detrick officials at Nallin’s farm gate, where he got into his vehicle before driving about half a mile to the post and showing a gun, are also unknown.
Fort Detrick, through spokeswoman Lanessa Hill, declined to expand on security changes that may have been made since the incident.
“That day [April 6] has demonstrated the effectiveness of a coordinated response from Fort Detrick Police, local law enforcement and emergency services to contain a threat, âHill wrote in an email Wednesday. âAt Fort Detrick, the safety of our employees and residents is a top priority and steps are taken every day to achieve it. Publishing specific details of force protection poses a risk to our operational security. “
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