Navy Yard Gunman Was Former Reservist From Texas

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WASHINGTON (September 16, 2013)—The gunman who opened fire Monday morning in a building at the Washington Navy Yard, killing at least 12, was identified Monday afternoon as Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth.

Aaron Alexis (FBI photos)

Alexis also died.

One official said Alexis is believed to have a criminal record in Texas and to be a holder of a concealed carry weapon permit.

That official says Alexis is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using an identification card that belonged to someone else, but it’s not yet clear whether that individual was an accomplice or if the ID card was stolen.

Defense officials quoted by The Associated Press say he was working as an information technology contractor, but it was not clear which company employed him.

As a contractor, he could have had a badge that might have given him access to the base.

The Navy said Alexis was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011 who left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class.

Alexis had misconduct problems during his nearly three years in the military, but he received an honorable discharge, officials said.

Alexis was involved in incidents of insubordination, disorderly conduct and was sometimes absent from work without authorization, mainly from 2008 to 2011 when he was serving in Fort Worth, officials said.

The incidents were serious enough to prompt Navy officials to grant him an early discharge through a special program for enlisted personnel.

Officials said the bad conduct was enough to make it clear Alexis would not be a good sailor, but not enough to warrant a general or less-than-honorable discharge.

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

He had worked as a waiter and delivery driver at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in the Fort Worth suburb White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, until May and was pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics via online classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

In September 2010, he was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits after a neighbor reported she was nearly struck by a bullet fired from his downstairs apartment.

He told police his gun accidentally discharged while he was cleaning it, and no charges were filed.

"He was a very nice person," said Afton Bradley, a former co-worker at the Thai restaurant.

"It kind of blows my mind away."

Police in Seattle say Alexis was arrested there in 2004 for shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what he described to detectives as an anger-fueled "blackout."

Initially authorities thought there might be as many as two additional suspects, but late in the day Monday, officials said Alexis acted alone.


WASHINGTON (September 16, 2013)—A shooting Monday morning at a building at the Washington Navy Yard left 12 dead, Washington, D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters Monday afternoon.

One person died at Washington University Hospital of a gunshot wound to the head, a hospital spokesman said.

Lanier said earlier one gunman is dead, but that two others may still be at large.

One of the two, who was seen wearing a Navy-style uniform and carrying a handgun, was later identified and was cleared of any involvement.

The second, who was seen wearing an olive-drab military-style uniform and was carrying a long gun, has not been located.

Lanier said people are being told to stay in their homes and out of the area.

Four wounded victims including a police officer were taken to a hospital.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray described the incident as isolated.

The shots were fired at around 8:20 Monday morning at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work.

Police and federal agents were at the scene, ambulances were parked outside the building, and streets in the area were closed.

Flights at Reagan National Airport were temporarily halted but had resumed by 9:30 a.m. CDT.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter hovered over the building and appeared to drop a basket or a stretcher with a person onto the roof.

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.

It builds, buys, and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.

President Barack Obama promised Monday that "whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."

He said that several people were shot Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard about 3 1/2 miles from the White House, and that some were killed.

He said the victims were "courageous Americans" who knew about the risks of serving overseas, but wouldn't have expected such "unimaginable violence" at home.

The White House says the president has been receiving frequent briefings about the unfolding situation by senior aides.

The U.S. Senate postponed scheduled votes until Tuesday because of the deadly shooting.

The Senate chaplain, the Rev. Barry Black, offered a prayer for the victims and their families.

The Washington Nationals cancelled their game Monday night with Atlanta Braves because of the shooting.

The team’s stadium is adjacent to the Navy Yard and was being used as a staging area for families and authorities.