UPDATE: 12 dead in Washington shooting

Defense contract employee, former Navy reservist, opens fire in Washington Navy Yard building; eight wounded.
Associated Press
Sep 17, 2013

The deadly attack at the Washington Navy Yard was carried out by one of the military's own: a defense contract employee and former Navy reservist who used a valid pass to get onto the installation and started firing inside a building, killing 12 people before he was slain in a gun battle with police.

View photos from the shooting/aftermath HERE

The motive for the mass shooting — the deadliest on a military installation in the U.S. since the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 — was a mystery, investigators said. But a profile of the lone gunman, a 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, was coming into focus. He was described as a Buddhist who had also had flares of rage, complained about the Navy and being a victim of discrimination and had several run-ins with law enforcement, including two shootings.
 
U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that Alexis had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said. Alexis had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation in the case was continuing.
 
The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.
 
Family members told investigators Alexis was being treated for his mental issues.
 
The officials also said there has been no connection to international or domestic terrorism and investigators have found no manifesto or other writings suggesting a political or religious motivation for the shooting.
 
Monday's onslaught at a single building at the highly secure Navy Yard unfolded about 8:20 a.m. in the heart of the nation's capital, less than four miles from the White House and two miles from the Capitol.
 
It put all of Washington on edge. Mayor Vincent Gray said there was no indication it was a terrorist attack, but he added that the possibility had not been ruled out.
 
"This is a horrific tragedy," Gray said.
 
Alexis carried three weapons: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun that he took from a police officer at the scene, according to two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. The AR-15 is the same type of rifle used in last year's mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that killed 20 students and six women. The weapon was also used in the shooting at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 and wounded 70.
 
For much of the day, authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been disguised in an olive-drab military-style uniform. But by late Monday night, they said they were convinced the shooting was the work of a lone gunman, and the lockdown around the area was eased.
 
"We do now feel comfortable that we have the single and sole person responsible for the loss of life inside the base today," Washington police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
 
President Barack Obama lamented yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American "patriots." He promised to make sure "whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."
 
The FBI took charge of the investigation.
 
The attack came four years after Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood in what he said was an effort to save the lives of Muslims overseas. He was convicted last month and sentenced to death.
 
In addition to those killed at the Navy Yard, eight people were hurt, including three who were shot and wounded, according to the mayor. Those three were a police officer and two female civilians, authorities said. They were all expected to survive.
 
The dead ranged in age from 46 to 73, according to the mayor. A number of the victims were civilian employees and contractors, rather than active-duty military personnel, the police chief said.
 
At the time of the rampage, Alexis was an employee with The Experts, a company that was a Defense Department subcontractor on a Navy-Marine Corps computer project, authorities said.
 
Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI's field office in Washington, said Alexis had access to the Navy Yard as a defense contractor and used a valid pass.
 
Alexis had been a full-time Navy reservist from 2007 to early 2011, leaving as a petty officer third class, the Navy said. It did not say why he left. He had been an aviation electrician's mate with a unit in Fort Worth.
 
A convert to Buddhism who grew up in New York City, Alexis had had run-ins with the law over shooting incidents in 2004 and 2010 in Fort Worth and Seattle and was portrayed in police reports as seething with anger.
 
The Washington Navy Yard is a sprawling, 41-acre labyrinth of buildings and streets protected by armed guards and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs at doors and gates. More than 18,000 people work there.
 
The rampage took place at Building 197, the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships and submarines. About 3,000 people work at headquarters, many of them civilians.
 
Witnesses on Monday described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people on the main floor, which includes a glass-walled cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.
 
Patricia Ward, a logistics-management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria getting breakfast.
 
"It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running," Ward said.
 
Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.
 
"He just turned and started firing," Brundidge said.
 
Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said the gunman fired toward her and Brundidge.
 
"He aimed high and missed," she said. "He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, 'Get out of the building.'"
 
Officials announced early Tuesday that streets around the Navy Yard that were closed after the shooting were re-opened for the morning commute.
 
As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded the streets Monday, a helicopter hovered, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.
 
In the confusion, police said around midday that they were searching for two accomplices who may have taken part in the attack — one carrying a handgun and wearing a tan Navy-style uniform and a beret, the other armed with a long gun and wearing an olive-green uniform. Police said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.
 
But as the day wore, police dropped one person and then the other as suspects. As tensions eased, Navy Yard employees were gradually released from the complex, and children were let out of their locked-down schools.
 
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, was at the base at the time the shooting began but was moved unharmed to a nearby military installation.
 
Anxious relatives and friends of those who work at the complex waited to hear from loved ones.
 

Comments

swiss cheese kat

OH shut up with your rubbish. The world does not revolve around you.

shucks

Apparently, you don't have a mind of your own.

Typical of Obama haters.

santown419

You can't argue with this idiot. He is the same one who tried to say just because a lady had a screen name close to his that means they were stalking him.

shucks

thank you.

santown419

Well some of the people shot were white let's see you show up. Oh I forgot the you to coward to.

arnmcrmn

If it was a white shooter hearing voices that killed a bunch of black guys, bet your butt Al and Jesse and Obie would be front and center making it racial. This case doesn't fit their agenda and everyone with common sense sees that.

Darwin's choice

Well, we're assured that the shooter(s) are not terrorist's, because Obama said he would hold them accountable.......

Also read the shooter was retired vet? Shame on this administration for NOT getting our veterans the help and support they need!

Latest report is he is a veteran, but not a combat veteran. May have recently lost his job....

deertracker

How ridiculous a statement Dagwood!

shucks

Par for the course.

Darwin's choice

From the resident azzhat and his minion....hahahahahahahaha!!!

So tell me, shizzle, do you think that our vets are getting the help they need? Please list what being done for them by you moron democrats!

shucks

This has been discussed before.
Ain't gonna run it by you again , knot-head...............hahahahahahahaha!!!

Darwin's choice

You've got nothing! Again!

shucks

hahahahahahahaha!!!

swiss cheese kat

That was a lot of words.

BULLISDEEP's picture
BULLISDEEP

NOT RETIRED VET

While Alexis' motive is still not clear, his military record showed that he is a former avionics electrician with the U.S. Navy. He had been arrested at least twice previously: once in Seattle for malicious mischief, and once in Fort Worth in 2010 for discharging a firearm in public. His home of record in his military record was listed as New York City.

Alexis enlisted in the military May 5, 2007, and received initial training outside Chicago before eventually serving in Fort Worth, according to his record. During his time in the Navy, he was awarded a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a National Defense Service Medal.

ladydye_5

He had a general discharge....agree with you he is NOT retired.

Bottom Line

If I didn't know better I'd say deertracker was 11 years old. Just disregards facts and incorrectly uses adjectives. Very little else.

Perkins2060

She's a liberal. What do you expect?

Darwin's choice

True! Prime example of sheeple.....baaaaaaa! Obaaaaaaaama.......

swiss cheese kat

Obama hangovers for the liberal sheep.

deertracker

Go away!

rippedhippy1

A black mass murderer? No way! Let's hear from the brothers about this! And he is from New York, just living in Texas.

The Big Dog's back

Guns don't kill. Guns with bullets kill.

JudgeMeNot

PREDICTION: Liberal idiots like you will keep preaching gun control which causes more Americans to buy AR-15's.

OMGreally

wow what a sad people you are in sandusky...people getting killed in DC and all you want to do is play blame games on each other..politics is a joke in this country and you only add to it...

bnjjad

I know right? Its the democrats fault, its the republicans fault. Back and forth and realistically his political affiliation more than likely has nothing to do with it nor does either of the political parties. Nothing like blaming a political party for the actions of a independent person.

santown419

Every single one of these idiots are not from Sandusky.

shucks

Interesting--they don't have brains or a life.

KnuckleDragger

Speak for yourself.

shucks

So you don't live in Sandusky ?

And if you don't, you probably comment in other cities and if that's the case - you REALLY don't have a life and the brains to do something better.

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