Suspect identified in stabbing at Naval Medical Center, search continues

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A suspect has been identified after a service member on post was stabbed earlier Friday.

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 the service member.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Wilbur Harwell

Petty Officer 3rd Class Wilbur Harwell

The search for the suspect is still in progress.

According to WTKR, the Navy has identified him as Petty Officer 3rd Class Wilbur Harwell. He is described as a white male, approximately 5’8” tall and 165 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes, wearing tan cargo pants and a white shirt.

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.

“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.