Sunday, July 13, 2014





13 killed in Washington Navy Yard shooting rampage


September 16. 2013 7:56PM
BRETT ZONGKER and ERIC TUCKER Associated Press



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UPDATED 7:58 p.m. WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Navy man opened fire Monday morning inside a building at the heavily secured Washington Navy Yard, spraying bullets at office workers in the cafeteria and the halls, authorities said. Thirteen people were killed, including the gunman.


Authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been disguised in an olive-drab military-style uniform.


But as the day wore on and night fell, the rampage increasingly appeared to be the work of a lone gunman, and Navy Yard employees were being released from the complex and children were let out of their locked-down schools.


Investigators said they had not established a motive for the rampage, which 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.


As for whether it may have been a terrorist attack, Mayor Vincent Gray said: “We don’t have any reason to think that at this stage.” But he said the possibility had not been ruled out.


It was the deadliest shooting rampage at a U.S.-based military installation since Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas. He was convicted last month and sentenced to death.


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 and identified the gunman killed in the attack as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Texas. He died after a running gunbattle with police, investigators said.


A federal law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity said Alexis was believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card. But Navy officials said it was not yet clear how he got onto the base.


Alexis was a full-time 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 working for a fleet logistics support squadron in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy listed his home of record as New York City.


At the time of the rampage, he was working as a Defense Department contractor, but it was not clear if the information technology worker was assigned at the Naval Yard, according to two defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.


He was also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics online with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the school said. He started classes in July 2012.


In addition to those killed, more than a dozen people were hurt, including a police officer and two female civilians who were shot and wounded. They were all expected to survive.


The Washington Navy Yard is a sprawling labyrinth of buildings and streets protected by armed guards and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs at doors and gates to come and go. About 20,000 people work there.


The rampage took place at Building 197, the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. About 3,000 people work at headquarters, many of them civilians.


Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people in the cafeteria on the main floor. 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 other 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 firing 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.’”


Police would not give any details on the gunman’s weaponry, but witnesses said the man they saw had a long gun — which can mean a rifle or a shotgun.


In the confusion, police said around midday that they were searching for two men 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. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.


But later in the day, police said the man in the tan uniform had been identified and was not involved in the shooting.


As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded streets around the complex, a helicopter hovered, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.


Security was tightened at other federal buildings. Senate officials shut down their side of the Capitol while authorities searched for the potential second attacker. The House remained open.


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.


Tech Sgt. David Reyes, who works at Andrews Air Force Base, said he was waiting to pick up his wife, Dina, who was under lockdown in a building next to where the shooting happened. She sent him a text message.


“They are under lockdown because they just don’t know,” Reyes said. “They have to check every building in there, and they have to check every room and just, of course, a lot of rooms and a lot of buildings.”


According to public records, Alexis’ neighbor called Fort Worth police in September 2010 after she was nearly struck by a bullet that came from his downstairs apartment. Alexis told police he was cleaning his gun when it went off.


He was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits but was not prosecuted.


UPDATED at 5:02 p.m.: WASHINGTON — As many as two gunmen launched an attack Monday morning inside the Washington Navy Yard, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation’s capital, authorities said. At least 13 people were killed, including a gunman.


One gunman was dead after he fired on a police officer, and police hunted for a second possible attacker who may have been disguised in a military-style uniform, authorities said. It wasn’t clear how the gunman died.


Investigators said they had not established a motive for the shooting rampage, which unfolded less than four miles from the White House. As for whether it may have been a terrorist attack, Mayor Vincent Gray said: “We don’t have any reason to think that at this stage.”


The FBI took charge of the investigation. The dead gunman was identified as Aaron Alexis by two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.


One of those officials said Alexis, 34, was from Texas and is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card. It is not yet clear if that person was an accomplice or if the ID was stolen.


The Navy said Alexis was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011. The Navy said in a release Monday that he left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It’s not immediately clear why he left.


Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.


Alexis was one of 13 people killed during the rampage.


President Barack Obama mourned yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American patriots. Obama promised to make sure “whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.”


In addition to the dead, at least three people were wounded.


The area where the rampage took place, known as Building 197, was part of the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. The yard is a labyrinth of buildings protected by armed guards at gates and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs to come and go.


About 3,000 people work at the headquarters, many of them civilians.


Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people in the cafeteria on the main floor. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It was not clear whether the witnesses on different floors were describing the same gunman.


Around midday, police said they were searching for two men 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. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.


But later in the day, police said in a tweet that the man in the tan uniform had been identified and was not involved in the shooting.


It was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included a gunman.


As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded streets around the complex, a helicopter hovered overhead, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.


A short distance away, security was beefed up at the Capitol and other federal buildings, but officials said there was no known threat.


Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other 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 she also saw the gunman firing 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.’”


Rick Mason, a civilian program-management analyst for the Navy who works on the fourth floor of the building, said a gunman was firing from the overlook in the hallway outside his office.


Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said, someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.


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.


Ward said security officers started directing people out of the building with guns drawn.


One person died at George Washington University Hospital of a single gunshot wound to the left temple, said Dr. Babak Sarani, director of trauma and acute care surgery. A police officer and two civilian women were in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center, said Janis Orlowski, the hospital’s chief operating officer.


Orlowski said the police officer was in the operating room with gunshot wounds to the legs. The police chief said the officer was wounded when he engaged the shooter who later died.


One woman at the hospital had a gunshot wound to the shoulder. The other had gunshot wounds to the head and hand.


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.


Tech Sgt. David Reyes, who works at Andrews Air Force Base, said he was waiting to pick up his wife, Dina, who was under lockdown in a building next to where the shooting happened. She sent him a text message about being on lockdown.


“They are under lockdown because they just don’t know,” Reyes said. “They have to check every building in there, and they have to check every room and just, of course, a lot of rooms and a lot of buildings.”


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 grounds, but that can include uniformed security officers, civilian contractors and members of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.


Cmdr. Timothy Jirus said he has a clearance that would allow him to carry a gun on the campus. He has a secure access card that he swipes to get into the headquarters office.


“I think the security is really good, up until today,” Jirus said.


Everyone must show an ID to get through a main gate, and at the building entrance, everyone must swipe a badge to pass through either a door or gate, depending on the entrance.


That “makes me think it might have been someone who works here,” Mason said.


The Navy Yard has three gates, according to its website. One is open around the clock and must be used by visitors. A second gate is only for military and civilian Defense Department employees. The third gate is for bus traffic.


The Navy Yard is part of a fast-growing neighborhood on the banks of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, blocks from the Nationals Park baseball stadium.




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