Washington Navy Yard
WASHINGTON, DC - Paul Marquis reported to work as usual Monday. It wasn't long until he knew something was terribly wrong at the Washington Navy Yard.
"I was sitting at my desk (around 8:15 a.m.) and heard these loud noises. To me, it didn’t sound like gunshots. No one was screaming, but the sounds came repeatedly, about three times. It would pause and start again," he said during a live interview on 13News Now at Daybreak.
"At that time, I just knew something was out of place and wrong, so I looked down at the security guard down in the atrium from our floor and I saw him grab his service revolver and I heard someone say ‘shooter’ and people were exiting the building."
Marquis, who used to live in Chesapeake with this wife and children, develops weapons systems programs that go into the Navy's surface ships.
Marquis took another look down to the main floor of Building 197 before moving.
"My fear was that that shooter was going to the exit, also, and just gonna get everybody in a stampede and where everybody was collected. I wanted to know where that gunfire was coming from before I made an exit," Marquis explained. "We went down the emergency exits and the shooting just kept on going. I counted many shots, maybe 20 or 30."
He got his employees out of the building and found himself standing at the gate, telling people to run to get out of the way. That's when he noticed 2 people walking and spoke up, not realizing what he was about to witness.
"A young lady exited the building with a gentleman and they were just kinda walking across and I told them ‘Run. Run. There’s a shooter.’ She looked up and she was covered with blood and it all became real," Marquis said. "She had a lot of blood coming from her. She had been shot -- shotgun blast to the back of the head and her hand from trying to shield the shot."
Marquis and a friend calmed the woman down and got hold of her father, then maintained contact with him. Marquis got the got the woman to the clinic on the base.
"I turned around to my friend who had a phone that we had called her dad with. I said, 'Give me his number.' I said, 'Where are you? I need to get you here to see your daughter,'" Marquis told 13News Now.
With the base sealed off at that point, and roads around it jamming up with traffic, Marquis helped her father navigate his way to the Navy Yard, then got him on base to be with his daughter.
"She was one of the survivors, one of the lucky ones,” he said. "It became very real when I saw that young lady come out of that building."
Marquis, who wasn't at work Tuesday, said the events of Monday were like an out-of-body experience.
"Some parts of that morning were happening so fast that I can’t remember it. Other parts of it were almost like a movie In slow motion and you’re watching it happen."