WASHINGTON — Looking to head to ZooLights this holiday season? You may run into some more strict security.
After a shooting occurred within blocks of the National Zoo on Saturday night, zoo officials are looking to increase security measures and tighten up safety precautions.
National Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson said that zoo officials held a discussion on Sunday with D.C. Police, the Smithsonian Office of Protection Services and Metro Transit Police to determine what those safety precautions will look like and how they will be carried out.
Following Sunday's discussion, Pamela Baker-Masson said there would be an increase in security staff as well as temporary screening stations that will include bag checks and wanding.
"When things like this happen, it’s appropriate for us to pivot quickly and modify our security plans to be more robust," Baker-Masson said.
Baker-Masson said safety is the number one priority at the zoo and that the zoo is working to put a more robust security plan in place that is based on visitor projections. This means that days that are projected to have more visitors may face even more security.
In addition to increased precautions in the zoo, the spokeswoman said D.C. Police will have a heavier presence outside the zoo as well.
D.C. Police are investigating the motives behind the two juveniles who were shot close to the zoo. The status of the victims isn’t known.
The shooting occurred less than an hour after police responded to shots fired at the National Zoo, following social media claims. Police confirmed that the original reports were just sounds of fireworks. However, new information following the evacuation of the zoo states that two shootings occurred nearby.
Police have not indicated whether the fireworks were set off within the zoo, or outside.