Senior Navy official caught on camera threatening young men with gun


WATCH: (Scroll Down For Video) A senior Navy official is under criminal investigation and a Navy internal review after cell phone video emerged that appeared to capture him pointing a gun at a group of men during an argument on a suburban Washington street in June, officials said.

A man who appears to be Karnig Ohannessian, deputy secretary of the Navy for the environment, is seen on the video in front of a Burke, Virginia, home brandishing what appears to be a handgun.

At various points, Ohannessian is heard shouting “Get in the car!” and complaining of a crime occurring and saying “I can shoot the [expletive] out of you guys right now!”

Ohannessian has not been charged in the incident, which was first reported by WUSA9. The station also posted the video.

“We were made aware of the incident and the video,” said Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, a Navy spokeswoman. “Mr. Ohannessian’s supervisor is taking the appropriate action, to include working to understand the full details of what occurred. I’d refer you to local authorities for questions about the actual incident.”

Fairfax County police said officers were called June 11 for a report of a man brandishing a firearm. Officers were told a verbal confrontation occurred on the street between a 49-year-old man and other adults who had been at a nearby house.

The man was observed pointing a firearm at several people, police said. Officers began investigating, but determined the victims had already left the scene.

While that report was under investigation, a 24-year-old man came to a county police station to file a report about the same incident, police said. Officers then responded to the suspect’s residence and placed him under arrest for brandishing a firearm. The suspect was brought before a magistrate, who determined there wasn’t probable cause to charge him with a crime.

Police said the lead investigator will consult with prosecutors about potential charges. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said he has not heard from police yet.

One of the men, who was not identified, told WUSA TV that he was leaving a barbecue with two friends when they were approached by Ohannessian, who was complaining about noise.

Ohannessian was selected as the deputy secretary of the Navy for the environment in January, and was first named a senior defense official in 2013. He has worked for the Defense Department since 2003, focusing heavily on environmental issues and base realignment and closure (BRAC).

Prior to joining the government, Ohannessian trained as a civil and chemical engineer and worked at private companies in southern California, according to his Navy biography.

Ohannessian did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Justin Jouvenal, Dan Lamothe