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Another intruder breaches Joint Base Andrews, prompting a resident to open fire

The base in Maryland was breached Monday, nearly a year after two people in a stolen vehicle drove through a checkpoint shortly before Vice President Kamala Harris was there.
Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
Joint Base Andrews, Md., in March 2021.Alex Brandon / AP file
/ Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Another intruder has breached the home of Air Force One, one of the nation’s most sensitive military bases, and this time a resident opened fire on the trespasser, Joint Base Andrews said in a statement late Monday.

During the incident, which occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, “a man gained unauthorized access to a JBA housing area,” Joint Base Andrews said in a statement posted to Twitter. “A resident discharged a firearm, security forces arrived on scene to apprehend the intruder and law enforcement is investigating the incident.”

Joint Base Andrews is home to the fleet of blue and white presidential aircraft, including Air Force One and the “doomsday” 747 aircraft that can serve as the nation’s airborne nuclear command and control centers if needed.

The Air Force said late Monday it did not have anything to add beyond the Andrews statement about Monday’s intrusion.

It’s not the first time the base’s security has been breached.

Two people in a stolen vehicle drove through a checkpoint last March and continued to the base main gate, where the pair disregarded orders and fled, Joint Base Andrews said in a statement at the time. The breach occurred shortly before Vice President Kamala Harris returned from Selma, Alabama, where she helped mark 57 years since the “Bloody Sunday” police crackdown on civil rights protesters at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, officials said.

An armed 17-year-old was captured, but a search for the second person ended after authorities determined the “base intruder on the loose had departed the installation.”

In February 2021 a man got through the military checkpoint onto the installation, then through additional fenced secure areas to gain access to the flight line and climb into a C-40, which is the military’s 737-equivalent aircraft used to fly government officials.

That intruder was apprehended because the “mouse ears” cap he was wearing struck an observant airman as odd.

An inspector general’s investigation found three main security failings, starting with “human error” by a gate security guard who allowed the man to drive onto the base even though he had no credentials that authorized his access. Hours later, the man walked undetected onto the flight line by slipping through a fence designed to restrict entry. Finally, he walked onto and off a parked airplane without being challenged, even though he was not wearing a required badge authorizing access to the restricted area.