When a former Navy computer technician opened fire on a Washington, D.C. shipyard, slaying 12 people working at the military facility, many civilians were left frantically attempting to contact family members who could have been in the line of fire.
Among those concerned was Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan, whose mother and godmother both work at the shipyard where the shootings took place, according to USA Today's Kristen Berset. Amid the chaos, Morgan attended practice with the team Monday as the Redskins continued with their normal routine.
Meeting with reporters after the session, the 28-year-old D.C. native spoke openly about his distraught attempts to receive confirmation of his family's safety, per Berset.
"My godmother works in the other building. She's doing okay. But I haven't heard from my mother yet," Morgan said. "I called like 30 times. Nobody has been able to get into contact with her. We're just praying and hoping everything is OK."
A cousin later was able to contact Morgan's mother, LaWanda Ware, and confirm that she was safe. Ware works in the same building and on the same floor where the shootings took place. At the time, Morgan told Gene Wang of The Washington Post that he hadn't informed the Redskins or any teammates about his mother's proximity to the tragedy.
“I try not to tell too much about my personal business,” Morgan said. “I don’t even think they know she’s down there. I haven’t talked to any of the coaches.”
Of course, this is far from the first time that an unthinkable tragedy hit Morgan close to home, as Berset discusses. His mother was also unable to be located when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and Morgan was a junior at Virginia Tech when student Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people in 2007.
"Unfortunately it's not the first time," Morgan said. "It's kind happened in 9/11—she was at the Pentagon then. It happened to me when I was at Virginia Tech. With the shooting down there. We're kind of too familiar with it unfortunately."
Thankfully, everyone in Morgan's family is safe. The same cannot be said for the 12 slain and eight others injured in the tragedy, which took place early Monday morning.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan spoke on behalf of the franchise on Monday at his press conference, per the team's official website.
"My thoughts and our thoughts are with the families of the victims at the Naval Yard," Shanahan said. "I’m sure everybody feels the same way at this time."
Morgan, in his second season playing for his hometown team, will be with the Redskins on Sunday when they host the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field for a Week 3 NFC matchup. The 28-year-old has six catches for 90 yards through two games in 2013.