Arlington, VA — The Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery was the scene of an accidental shooting.
The incident occurred a couple of hours before President Barack Obama was to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in the traditional ceremony and give a speech.
The privately owned handgun, which was apparently under the seat of a vehicle, and reportedly belonged to an active duty solider, discharged by accident. A Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall spokeswoman said “the gun fell under the car and as the man tried to retrieve it, a shot went off and struck one of the passengers from his vehicle in the leg.” Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has jurisdiction over this incident which reportedly occurred in the parking garage after the man returned from visiting the gravesite of a friend.
The injured passenger was treated for non-life-threatening wounds at George Washington University Hospital in downtown D.C. It is as yet undetermined if any charges will be filed in connection with this Memorial Day incident.
Visitors are prohibited from bringing guns into Arlington National Cemetery. The base spokeswoman explained that “weapons of any type are not authorized on military installations or reservations such as [Arlington National Cemetery]. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Police and Arlington National Cemetery security personnel responded to the call.”
Barack Obama delivered his speech as scheduled.
Arlington National Cemetery is a 624-acre military cemetery that was established during the Civil War. The cemetery performs about 30 military funerals every day and is open 365 days a year and is the final resting place for approximately 400,000 veterans and their families. According to the Arlington National Cemetery website, “The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.”