BANGOR — Naval Base Kitsap’s commanding officer told reporters that “the situation is under control” and that investigators were interrogating a man who claimed to have an improvised explosive device on his person and in his vehicle when he tried to enter the Bangor submarine base this morning.
Capt. Alan Schrader, USN, said the individual and his vehicle did not make it past the security checkpoint.
“Security and personnel safety procedures were immediately taken and the driver was apprehended,” Schrader said in a news report carried on KOMO News. “Our actual security measures worked.”
The driver of a black SUV entered the Trident vehicle inspection gate at 9 a.m. on Feb. 22. Lt. Robert Brazas of the Washington State Patrol said the individual was “trying to gain unauthorized access” to the base; the vehicle was stopped and the individual reportedly said he had an improvised explosive device with him and in his vehicle.
State Route 308 was closed from State Route 3 to the base, Brazas said. Naval Base Kitsap’s Bremerton Naval Gate was also closed. Brazas said a package inside the vehicle was estimated to have a potentially high blast radius.
Schrader said a 3,200-foot radius “stand-off area” had been established. Kitsap County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson advised residents living within that area to “shelter in place” or evacuate until further notice. Wilson also advised residents to “remain clear” and “stay away from windows.”
According to Wilson, the security area boundaries are:
- West boundary — the fence line of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor that runs parallel to Clear Creek Road NW.
- East boundary — Highway 3 NW.
- North boundary — Closser Drive NW.
- South boundary — NW Skiff Lane.
Schrader said agencies involved in the response include the FBI, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Washington State Patrol, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, and Naval Ordnance Explosive Disposal Detachment 11.
‘I moved away from the windows’
Motorists were being stopped at the security area boundaries and asked by officers to turn around. At Clear Creek Road and Closser Drive, Sheriff’s Deputy Schon Montague let about 20 motorists through so they could pick up their children at home — schools were closed because of snow. He estimated there are 150 homes in the security area.
Dave Rasmussen of the county Department of Emergency Management advised residents, “If you reside in this area and have a personal emergency that is not life-threatening, please call 360-307-5983.”
KOMO’s Air 4 and a KING 5 helicopter were hovering above the site, streaming live coverage of a remotely operated bomb robot approaching the suspect’s vehicle.
Some residents within the area said they weren’t too concerned, but were still being cautious.
“We weren’t sure it was at Bangor, then an officer came by to tell us to seek shelter and stay away from the windows,” William Hayek said. “Being a half mile away, I wasn’t really concerned. [But] I moved away from the windows.”
David Wendell said he wasn’t worried. “I wouldn’t call it normal, but I live across the street from a Navy base. I chose to live here.”
This story will continue to be updated as information becomes available.