|Fairfax County police officers at the Skyline Center. [NBC4 News]|
Neither the Fairfax County Police Department, Arlington County Police Department, nor federal law enforcement officials, all of were at the site, had been notified of the drill in advance. The Skyline Center property management company, Vornado Charles E. Smith Co., hadn’t been informed either.
According to a FCPD spokesperson, an employee had forwarded an email giving warning about a drill at an unspecified future date to someone else in the building who misinterpreted the message and thought there really was a shooter and called the police. Meanwhile, reports about a shooter spread through social media, and FCPD sent out tweets saying they were investigating a shooting.
When police thought there really was a shooter, they secured the building, one floor at a time. During the incident, employees in the building hid under their desks in fear.FCPS later reported that it was an active-shooter drill, and it wasn’t until the next day that the whole story emerged: It wasn't a drill at all; it was just a misinterpretation of an email about a future drill.
There was also a whole lot of police activity in that area early on Oct. 15 due to an attempted burglary at Skyline Plaza Condominium on the 3500 block of S. George Mason Drive. A resident saw a man about to enter his residence from a balcony at about 1:30 a.m. The resident closed the door, and the suspect fled. The suspect was described as white or Hispanic, in his late 20s, about 6 feet tall, and approximately 210 pounds. He was wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans.