Retired admiral: DC tragedy 'unreal'

Author: Hailey Winslow, General assignment reporter, hwinslow@wjxt.com
Published On: Sep 16 2013 03:56:35 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 16 2013 09:04:45 PM EDT
Shots fired at Washington Navy Yard 2
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Retired Rear Adm. Victor Guillory has served 34 years in the United States Navy and used to live at the Historic Washington Navy Yard.

He's dumbfounded by the tragedy that took place there Monday, leaving 12 dead.

"It was just unbelievable. It was unreal," Guillory said. "There are schools. It's a vibrant part of town. It's not an isolated base out in the middle of nowhere, and so it's a part of Washington D.C. in every way. So the implications and what's happened today, I can just imagine how it's impacting everyone, not only psychologically, but from traffic, from just moving around and going about normal business."

The massacre happened in building 197 called the Naval Sea Systems Command, which Guillory says houses all the paperwork and documentation for ships built and reconfigured. He says anyone wanting to get into that building has to go through not just front gate security, as is the case at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, but also additional security at the front door of that building and other checkpoints inside.

"What has been reported today really challenges whether or not the right security issues are in place and what needs to be modified to make them stronger," Guillory said.

Strength is something many may need on the heels of several recent mass shootings and last week's observance of Sept. 11.

"It challenges us all to recognize that life is fragile and we have to be continually vigilant of our surroundings," Guillory said. "And there are unfortunately people out there that, for any number of reasons or perhaps mental issues, could bring some harm to our safety, and we just have to be sensitive to that."

The retired Jacksonville admiral and director of military affairs says this is a huge tragedy in the D.C. area that affects the entire military.

Many questions still need to be answered, but even after they are, it won't take away the pain of heroes lives lost and destroyed, not at war, but at a place where Navy men and women thought they were safe.

"I just ask that you keep everyone, all those impacted in your thoughts and prayers, and it's just a sad day," Guillory said.