US Navy: Virginia base locked down after stabbing

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Navy officials say the victim and suspect in a stabbing near Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Friday were active-duty Sailors and knew each other.

Wilbur Harwell, 26, is being sought in connection to the stabbing. Harwell is described as standing 5’8″ and is an active-duty 3rd class petty officer.

Wilbur Harwell, photo courtesy U.S. Navy
Wilbur Harwell, photo courtesy U.S. Navy

The stabbing happened around 8:30 a.m. Friday at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads/Portsmouth Annex, which is in a separate building outside of the hospital.

Moir said the victim was transported to the hospital with critical injuries. During a news conference at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Capt. Jake Johansson, Commanding Officer Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads said the victim was in surgery.

The suspect was described as a white male with blonde hair and blue eyes weighing about 165 pounds. He was wearing tan cargo pants, a white t-shirt and blue sneakers at the time of the incident.

Johansson said the active-duty Sailors got into an altercation in front of the exchange that led to the stabbing. No information was available about what caused the altercation.

Photos: Stabbing at Navy exchange in Portsmouth

Jim Moir with the Navy told a Code White was in place at the installation, which has been closed to inbound and outbound traffic. A Code White could mean an active shooter situation or an armed suspect is in the area. In this case, it is referring to an armed suspect.

Personnel inside the hospital were told to shelter in place.

“Code White, Code White, this is not a drill,” a message sent to staff said. Staff were urged to report suspicious activity to 953-4220. received a picture of doors barricaded by gurneys and other items inside the hospital.

Additionally, Parkview Elementary School and I.C. Norcom High School were put on lockdown.

A SWAT team is on site at this time. Det. Misty Holley with the Portsmouth Police Department told Portsmouth Police were assisting. The FBI is also on scene.

Click here to watch all of WAVY News’ coverage on the situation

Moir said those with appointments at being asked to stay away.

The stabbing comes just one day after the Naval Medical Center held an active shooter drill on the installation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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