Two of the three people who were in a sports utility vehicle that was stopped and fired upon when it tried to enter the National Security Agency campus without authorization have been released, an FBI spokesman said Thursday.
NSA police turned over the other person to the Howard County Sheriff’s Office, because he was wanted on allegations of being behind on child support payments, said Dave Fitz, the spokesman for the FBI’s Baltimore field office.
He said that the FBI investigation is ongoing to determine why the black SUV carrying the three people tried to enter a top-secret intelligence site at Fort Meade.
Investigators are considering the theory that the vehicle made a wrong turn and ended up at the NSA gate.
“The FBI continues to believe that yesterday’s encounter was an isolated incident,” Fitz said in a statement. “Our investigation continues and we do not see a nexus to terrorism.”
FBI investigators left the scene Wednesday evening, Fitz said.
The unauthorized vehicle’s arrival at the NSA’s campus prompted shots to be fired at the vehicle Wednesday morning. The driver was hospitalized, though NSA and FBI officials say they don’t believe any injuries were caused by bullets.
Authorities have not released the names of any of the individuals involved. Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that they were male, but didn’t release ages.
The NSA campus in a suburban area edged by woods outside the nation’s capital sits by a highway with an exit specifically designated for NSA employees. But drivers have taken the wrong exit before and ended up at the tightly secured gates. Most motorists then carefully follow the orders of heavily armed federal officers and turn around without getting into further trouble.
But in early 2015, two people were shot by NSA police when they disobeyed orders outside the heavily secured campus. One driver died at the scene after NSA police opened fire on the stolen sports utility vehicle. Authorities said the occupants had stolen a car from a man who picked them up for a party at a motel.
An NSA police officer and a civilian onlooker also were injured in the incident Wednesday. Both required hospital treatment, but their injuries were not life-threatening, Johnson said. Authorities did not say how they were injured.
Wednesday’s incident began about 6:55 a.m. when the SUV tried to enter the spy agency’s campus.
While Johnson declined to give details about who opened fire, he said preliminarily indications are that all gunfire was directed toward the vehicle.
The vehicle had a New York license plate, and Johnson said it was believed to be a rental car, but he said it was unknown exactly where the vehicle came from.
“We are working through that,” Johnson said. “We believe that it was a rental car, but we’re still working that as part of the ongoing investigation.”