NORFOLK — Naval Air Station Oceana base security killed an unidentified male sailor Friday morning after he shot and wounded a woman here in what authorities describe as a “domestic shooting incident.”
The unnamed woman was transported to Virginia Beach General Hospital with “multiple non-life threatening gunshot wounds,” according to a prepared statement released by Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and base officials.
“At approximately 6:45 this morning, an isolated domestic shooting incident occurred on Naval Air Station Oceana in the parking lot of Strike Fighter Squadron 37, Hangar 145,” Capt. Chad Vincelette, Oceana’s commanding officer told reporters at a press conference outside the Virginia Beach base.
“A male sailor shot a female sailor several times.”
Naval Air Station Oceana was placed on immediate lockdown while base security forces responded to the gunfire, base spokeswoman Jennifer Hayes told Navy Times Friday morning.
“The shooter was quickly identified and shot and killed by my Naval Air Station Oceana security personnel,” Vincelette said. “The shooter was armed with a single handgun and was not carrying any additional weapons or ammunition.”
Vincelette told reporters that the incident was handled “quickly and professionally" by 6:58 a.m., with the lockdown being lifted less than an hour after that.
The base, he added, has returned to normal operations while the shooting remains under investigation.
Vincelette said the Navy was "not identifying the sailors at this time, pending notification of next of kin” but he confirmed that “both sailors were assigned to VFA-37.”
A spokesman for Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, Dale Gauding, confirmed physicians were treating a female shooting victim from the base but declined to give further details on her condition.
He referred all questions to Navy officials.
Officials at the Virginia Department of Health said they could not respond to media questions about an autopsy on the deceased sailor until Monday.
David Todd, a Navy Region Mid-Atlantic spokesman, told Navy Times that the dead sailor and the woman were both enlisted personnel.
Vincelette told reporters that NAS Oceana has a “no weapons policy” and “random and periodic inspections for prohibited items are done by the base to enforce that rule.”
“How a sailor was able to get a weapon on base, is part of the ongoing investigation,” he said.
“The reason for the shooting is unknown and currently being investigated by Naval Criminal Investigative Services.”
The “Ragin’ Bulls” of Strike Fighter Squadron 37 are assigned to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, which is undergoing extensive maintenance and modernization at the nearby Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth.
NAS Oceana is the service’s only “master jet base” on the East Coast, which makes it the home for all the region’s fighters.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.