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The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.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

OMGreally

Yep live in Sandusky, and trust me have a brain...

2cents

Just drove back from Cleveland getting the scoop from three news stations. It appears that this was a guy with anger issues, he loved violent interactive video games, he was discharged from navy, was working as a sub contractor for HP, he had law issues about three times, Texas, Georgia and somewhere else. Sounds like a man with a big chip on his shoulders and wanted to blame everyone but himself.

Just my 2cents for now!

EZOB

Our Leaders say:
Don't judge all Muslims by the acts of a few crazed Lunaics BUT
They encourage everyone to judge all Law abiding gun owners by the actions of a few crazed Lunatics.

santown419

Let me guess false news told you this.

deertracker

BINGO!

KnuckleDragger

^^can't dispute it?...Blame fox news. LMAO! You libs are so predictable. Queertracker and yourself are apparently too simple minded to see the irony in what he just said.

santown419

Its funny I havent voted as a lib in along time yet another lie you tell. You can't tell the truth if your family life depends on it. Since you and your little buddies live by false news lies.

KnuckleDragger

The jokes on you, because I haven't watched fox news in probably 3 yrs now. It's more entertaining to watch the screwball liberals on MSNBC.

santown419

Let me guess false news told you this.

The Big Dog's back

LMAO!

EZOB

He lived in New York and was trained around Chicago?? I think he's been in Combat areas that's why He received the medals.

KnuckleDragger

True, to get the GWOT medal you have to serve at least 30 consecutive days in an antiterrorism operation. Looks like another war vet that the VA mental health system let slip through the cracks. Really, this has nothing to do with Obama, the VA mental health system has been broke for decades.

santown419

Finally you tell the truth instead of all that race bs and all those lies. I was wrong you can tell the truth sometimes.

KnuckleDragger

It's the lefties who keep bringing up race. Please post any comment of mine where I brought up race at all unless it was brought up by a lefty first. I could care less about Obama's race, I don't like his politics or think he is doing a good job. If it was Hilary Clinton, or Joe Biden as President, and the same things were happening, I would be criticizing them. Nonetheless, this has nothing to do with Obama. As a veteran, I think our government should be ashamed of themselves for the dismal care that they are giving to these war vets. One thing is for sure, this one can't be hung on Obama, it is congress that funds the VA and the are doing a pi$$ poor job of providing adequate funding for mental health care.

arnmcrmn

Obama is more WHITE than anything. Liberals forget hes only 6% black. lol.

ladydye_5

The VA system PERIOD is broke. Does not matter what part of it you speak of. The IDIOTS on Capital Hill (all of them included Dems, Repubs, Teas, Aliens, Men, Women, Whoever) have defunded, screwed and want to further change, remove and backstab veterans to the point of (IMO) spit on them. No matter if it is a Korean Veteran, Vietnam Veteran or an Iraqi Freedom Veteran it takes too long to receive TOO LITTLE. It is disgusting the way our government treats these men/women. But these same IDIOTS on Capital Hill want to fund ILLEGAL ALIENS with healthcare, education, and other benefits to the point of making them US CITIZENS FOR FREE!!!!! THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG!!!! We need to take care of our own before we take care of others. Stop the money to other counties, Egypt, Syria, etc. Stop the money to fund illegals. Take care of the Veterans! Take care of the homeless, hungry children in America! Take care of us first.

KnuckleDragger

Amen to that sister!!!

Julie R.

Might as well face it. All these shootings have become the new normal in America.

deertracker

Agreed!

santown419

It is very disappointing that it has to be the truth.

KnuckleDragger

They will continue to be as long as our government keeps putting symbolism over substance. Strengthen the mental health system in this country, put the mentally defective away and not out on the streets. Problem solved.

Pterocarya frax...

That is going to cost a lot of money. You willing to pay to get it done???

grumpy

"Strengthen the mental health system in this country, put the mentally defective away and not out on the streets. Problem solved."

Sounds good until you realize the ACLU will get involved and put a screeching halt to that. It was one of the reasons doing just that was stopped in the 80's. Nothing was done to replace doing it, as they couldn't figure how to put such people away against their will and not face lawsuits from the ACLU. Once the person stablises on the meds they can't be held, the meds make them feel loopy and they go off the meds... and do the same things again. How do you force them to take meds if they don't wish to? How do you keep them in an institution when they are on their meds? It is a circle, with no answer.

The Big Dog's back

It had nothing to do with the ACLU derp.
http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/3...

Stop It

Might as well face it. The media and corporate run this country. They are one in the same and they buy OUR gov't. Accept it, fight it, or leave it.

And why did I get sent to a second page for the above comment? Just to fill out a captcha? No body is watching those words I typed?

Stop It

captcha..MwA34t

EZOB

sandtown,
Wrong again! I don't watch CNN, ABC, CNBC, or any other American news stations. I got it off the Muslim Channel who preach, "Why kill one with a bullet when you can get 30-40 with a bomb".

Centauri

"Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget. ONLY security personnel were allowed to be armed on the campus."

How long did it take the ARMED security personnel to get to the scene? 12 people died.

arnmcrmn

Just more reason to get your CCW and stop having these gun free zones. America is to big and has to many lunatics that we will never be able to spot until they kill.

Buy guns and ammo and protect yourself.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

You know Obama and his media sheep will shamelessly use this to further their gun agenda.

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