Walter Reed lockdown confirmed to be a drill

The Walter Reed military medical center in Maryland was on lockdown on Tuesday, during an active shooter drill that many believed to be real.

The US Navy says a mistake using a mass notification system led to reports of an active shooter at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

A statement released Tuesday evening says that while preparing for an upcoming drill at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, the notification system was inadvertently activated without the words "exercise" or "drill."

According to the statement, people who saw the notification contacted security at NSA Bethesda, which launched an active shooter response.

Dutch Ruppersberger, a congressman for Maryland, told NBC News that he was at the site, which specialises in treating members of the military.

He said he was safe, and sheltering in a room with others.

Police only confirmed after the drill was over that it was a rehearsal.

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NSA Bethesda spokesman Jeremy Brooks says the incident "was an accident. It was not something that was planned."

The hospital, named after the pathologist who discovered the link between mosquitoes and yellow fever, opened in 1909.

It is a frequent destination for presidents, who regularly visit wounded servicemen and women.

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