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The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.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

arnmcrmn

Its a certain they will try. Problem is more and more Americans with common sense are waking up each day and realizing that it probably is a good idea to have a gun or two around the house and possibly carry one. To many whack jobs out there that we will never know about until they do something like this.

Get your CCW, carry, know your rights and protect your family and friends people.

arnmcrmn

You know if this was a white guy Al and Jesse would be all over the media calling it a racial killing..right along with CNN, MSNBC and all the other lib networks.

swiss cheese kat

CNN, MSNBC and all the other liberal networks ignore meaningful news and pander to their liberal ideology. Those are two of the worst news networks ever, especially MSNBC.

The Big Dog's back

Just when you can agree on things with the right, the right wingnuts come on and post garbage like this. Reign in the right wingnuts and we could move forward.

Darwin's choice

You are an incredible fool. You of all people posting here, should talk of posting garbage! The un-ending venom you spew is laughable. If the topic isn't Obama, you're absent. Troll! You blind followers of the failure from behind are stupendous!

shucks

@Darwin's reject

More trash spoken by the patron saint of idiots , hypocrites ,and trolls.
YOU really are an incredible fool.

arnmcrmn

Still waiting for Al and Jesse and Obie to get on TV and in the papers as much as they did with that thug Martin......still waiting but wont happen in this case.

kURTje

So many members of the Prometheus Society commenting. erlyloe

shucks

no doubt

DCOLE 67

The Sandusky Register is an over obviously liberal newspaper. Any conservative idea is taken for idiotic to the people who write this crap paper. This article is not very different. This article was written to show how our laws are too lax and something needs to be done, but in reality it did the opposite. This article showed that no matter the laws written to stop crazy people such as this man, we cannot fix crazy. Criminals will be criminals. Drugs are illegal but criminals possess them. Why would guns be any different? Want to protect your people, let them defend themselves.

rezzy

I can't believe those guns fired themselves at all of those people! Guns are horrible! Truth is that the statement you just read is as stupid as the statements blaming guns for this violence. This man would have driven over people or used a knife or simply used illegal guns. The other truth is that these killers need to be dealt with by execution (firing squad) that should be made known to the public. Also, the media should not be allowed to report on these incidents more than one time limiting the glory these stooges get. Ban guns and the folks who legally own them for their lively hoods in places like rural Alaska pay the price. The thugs losers will still get them illegally. Done

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