SAN DIEGO — A person who investigators say was armed with a knife was shot and killed by base personnel at the main visitors’ entrance to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego Friday, according to MCRD officials.
The deadly shooting happened around 11:50 a.m., when a vehicle drove up to the base’s entrance off Washington Street, near Pacific Highway, and tried to pass through a checkpoint, military law enforcement said.
As base security shouted for the vehicle to stop, MCRD officials say the person got out of their small SUV and approached the employees with a knife. Several more warnings were given but the person appeared to have “hostile intent,” a base spokesperson said.
At least one official opened fire and the person collapsed just inside base property. Emergency services were called and the person was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:16 p.m., the spokesperson confirmed.
Why the driver came to the base in the first place Friday wasn’t immediately clear. Because it happened on federal property, the shooting is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a military law enforcement agency.
Located just north of San Diego International Airport, the MCRD serves as a first training stop for enlisted recruits entering the U.S. Marine Corps on the West Coast.
The Washington Street entrance, Gate 5, is used for visitor traffic, according to MCRD’s website. That area was marked off with crime scene tape and the SUV could be seen sitting with its doors open in one of the lanes. A tarp covered the body of the person who was shot a short distance away, under the gate’s awning.
As the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Andrew Dyer reported Friday, the depot is celebrating its 100th anniversary as a Marine Corps base this year. A spokesperson told Dyer that a new exhibit is opening at a depot museum to mark the centennial, but that due to the coronavirus pandemic, public access is limited to recruit graduation days only.
It wasn’t immediately clear if a public event was being held at the time of the shooting.
Domenick Candelieri contributed to this report.