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Some Hanford workers allowed to return to work after no shooter, victims found following report of gunshots

March 1, 2022 Updated Tue., March 1, 2022 at 3:26 p.m.

In this Aug. 13, 2019, file photo, a sign at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is posted near Richland, Wash. Two companies that do work at the former nuclear weapons production plant will pay fines of nearly $58 million for improperly billing the federal government for thousands of hours of work that were not performed.  (Spokesman-Review file archive)
In this Aug. 13, 2019, file photo, a sign at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is posted near Richland, Wash. Two companies that do work at the former nuclear weapons production plant will pay fines of nearly $58 million for improperly billing the federal government for thousands of hours of work that were not performed. (Spokesman-Review file archive)
Tri-City Herald staff reports

An all-clear has been given to many employees at the Hanford nuclear site, following reports of shots fired late Tuesday morning.

The Department of Energy, which operates the cleanup efforts at the sprawling former weapons facility, reported just before 2 p.m. that “work activities in the immediate area likely caused the noises originally reported as shots fired to the Patrol Operations Center.”

Some workers were evacuated from the 2750E Building on the site, and the investigation there continues. Other workers were allowed to return to normal duties. 

Previous updates follow.

12:46 p.m.

Benton County sheriff’s deputies have completed an initial search of the Hanford site building where shots were reported fired Tuesday morning.

They have found no evidence of shots fired and no one injured.

Law enforcement will continue to do additional searching in the building.\

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12:06 p.m.

Hanford officials say they still have no reports of anyone injured. Teams of law enforcement officers continue to methodically search the two-story office building where shots were reported at 10:40 a.m.

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11:37

A gun has been found inside a vehicle, according to reports. There is no information on whether it is related to the reported shooting.

Hanford officials said they have not confirmed that shots were fired.

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11:28

Hanford officials announce the 2750E Building is being evacuated. Employees in nearby buildings are told to continue lockdown.

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11:27

Law enforcement officers are searching buildings at the center of the Hanford site for an active shooter.

Employees remained locked in the buildings, some with doors barricaded.

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Police from throughout the Tri-Cities are heading to the Hanford nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington after the report of possible shots fired at the site.

Initial reports were that a person with a shotgun was seen and shots were heard.

The reports came from the 200 East Area in the center of the site in an office building, the 2750E Building, used by Washington River Protection Solutions, the Hanford tank farm contractor.

Affected employees, both at the 2750E Building and nearby buildings, were sent messages telling them to prepare to run, hide or fight.

The 200 East Area is on lockdown with building doors locked and employees not already there told to stay away, said a Hanford spokesman.

Benton County sheriff’s deputies are being joined by Richland and Kennewick police in responding along with the Hanford Patrol.

A spokesman with the FBI in Spokane said agents were on the ground and working with local officials. 

It’s unknown at this time if there are any victims, according to initial reports. However, a call has gone out for a medic.

The nuclear reservation is closed to the public and employees enter at security checkpoints where they are required to show their employment badges. Cars are not searched as they enter.

Hanford employs about 11,000 people, but not all work on the 580-square-mile site.

The center of the site was used to produce plutonium from World War II through the Cold War. Now the federal government is spending about $2.5 billion a year on environmental cleanup of the site.

This story will be updated.

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