Report of gunshot prompts lockdown at Grand Forks Air Force Base

by Vern Evans

Security officers were conducting a door-to-door sweep Wednesday at a North Dakota Air Force base after a report of a gunshot prompted a lockdown.

The Grand Forks Air Force Base said in a social media post that security at the base received a report of a single gunshot near the medical clinic and base exchange around 1 p.m. The lockdown was ordered “out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said.

By mid-afternoon, no injuries were reported, and the sweep of the facility was still ongoing.

Grand Forks County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dave Stromberg said the office knows of no active threat on the Air Force base, and that base officials have not asked for assistance.

The person who answered the phone at the base’s public affairs number reiterated that there were no injuries and said the staff is working on an updated statement.

State Sen. Scott Meyer said he was walking out to his vehicle at about 12:45 p.m. after having lunch at the base’s bowling alley, and he saw three or four squad cars with lights on at the commissary. He said he initially thought it was for a medical episode.

While driving out, he noticed barricades in the road and two other vehicles stopped at the base’s east gate. Then he heard a lockdown announcement for an active shooter over the base’s loudspeakers, he said.

“It keeps going across the speakers of the base, and you’re like — if that doesn’t make the hair on your neck stand up, it’s a creepy noise, and it was every about five minutes,” Meyer said.

He said he sat in his vehicle for nearly two hours, with “quite a lineup” at the gate. About 20 minutes after the loudspeakers last sounded, security guards came out and pulled the barricades back, Meyer said. They checked and scanned IDs as people left, and they searched vehicles, he said.

“I had all my four doors of my pickup opened, my console, my glove compartment, my end gate, my toolboxes. I mean, they were doing a full search,” Meyer said.

The base’s website says that 2,200 people are assigned to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. The base houses air and space operations.

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