Navy seals off Virginia military hospital in hunt for stabbing suspect

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Portsmouth Naval Medical Center Stabbing (WTKR photo)

(CNN) — Security forces sealed off a major naval hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, and ordered patients and staff to shelter in place Friday morning as they searched for a man suspected of stabbing a service member on the post.

The hospital remained on lockdown at midday, with base officials asking for patience on the base’s Facebook page as security forces continued to scour the facility for the suspect.

The incident occurred Friday morning in front of the private military store, or exchange, at the base, which is called on Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Portsmouth Annex, according to Navy spokesman Jim Moir.

Authorities provided no details of the condition of the stabbed service member.

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth said on its Facebook page that security forces were looking for a man wearing tan cargo pants and a white shirt.

“BASE ON LOCKDOWN: An incident has occurred on base that has caused security forces to close the gates. All staff and patients are to shelter in place. Monitor this page for further updates,” base officials said on Facebook.

Despite reports on social media of a shooting at the base, Moir said there was no indication gunshots had been fired or a shooter was on the base.

About 4,300 military and civilian personnel work at the medical center, which is across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk.

It is the oldest continuously operated hospital in the Navy, according to its website. It serves about 420,000 military members, families and retirees in the Hampton Roads region, home to one of the largest concentrations of military power in the world.