- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2013

While police helicopters circled overhead and investigators tried to make sense of Monday’s mass shooting in Southeast, family and friends began to gather at one of the covered parking lots at Nationals Park, where police had set up a reunion site for Navy Yard workers.

Yellow police tape marked off the intersection of N Street and Half Street SE, and carts of water and soda were wheeled into the waiting area.

By 2:30 only a handful of military personnel had been dropped off by a private metro bus at the site. They declined to comment.

Fighting back tears, Jacqueline Alston said her husband Ernest Johnson had not yet contacted her since the shooting. He was a custodian working on the fourth floor of building 197, she said.

“I’m numb,” the 63-year-old woman said. “I’ve been talking and I’m worried.”

Falls Church resident Patricia Herrity said she had not spoken with her mother, Mary Rodgers, but her mother’s coworker had called to say the two of them were okay after the shooting.

“I’m hoping, I’m pretty confident,” said Ms. Herrity when asked whether she was comforted by the phone call. “I found out she was okay before I saw the news.”

Ms. Alston was also attempting to keep up a positive attitude about her husband.

“I’m not worried, just being patient,” she said. ” I want to tell him ‘Come on baby, come on home.’ “