Andrea Mitchell Reports, 9/16/13, 1:36 PM ET

Witness heard shots fired, didn’t see gunman

Rick Mason, an administrative specialist in the building where the D.C. shooting took place, describes the situation as it happened.

Eyewitness said shots fired at Navy Yard sounded like a semi-automatic

Updated
By msnbc staff

An eyewitness to the shooting at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard told Andrea Mitchell Monday that the shots fired on his office floor sounded like a semi-automatic weapons.

“You heard the shots. Did they sound like semi-automatics?” Mitchell asked Rick Mason, an administrative specialist in the building where the D.C. shooting took place.

“Yes, yes they did,” Mason replied.

At lease one gunman opened fire at the building, which hosts 3,000 workers, around 8:20 AM Eastern on Monday.

Mason said that employees at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters go through emergency drills “maybe three or four times a year for emergency purposes, not primarily with this in mind.”

Mason described the security procedure employees use to enter the building.

“Well, when you first get to the gate at the street entrance, you have to show your badge in order to get in.  Once you get in, then also you have to–you have to swipe your badge in order to get into the building.  And also you have to show your badge to the security guard once you’re inside. And from that point on, you know, you are OK to go ahead into your working area and begin your work for that day.”

Asked if he thought the shooter would have to show ID to get into the building, Mason told Mitchell, “That’s my thought.”

Asked whether employees undergo bag checks or screening through magnetometers, Mason said that bag checks have been instituted during times of heightened security.

“On a physical level I’m feeling shock and disbelief that this really happened and was so close, Mason said. “And, you know, my heart just goes out to the casualties and the victims and the surviving family members. My heart really goes out to them. But I just hope and pray that they get to the bottom of this situation and try to work towards making plans to avoid something like this happening again.”

Watch Andrea Mitchell’s full interview with Rick Mason above.

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Eyewitness said shots fired at Navy Yard sounded like a semi-automatic

Updated