World News

Probe Questions Navy Security in Washington Shooting

Authorities are questioning how a U.S. military contractor with a history of violence and mental problems could have gotten clearance to enter a Navy base in Washington where he killed 12 people Monday before police shot him dead.

Police say they have found no motive for 34-year-old Aaron Alexis' shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard. They also say they have found no evidence of a connection to international terrorism, or any political or religious motivation for his actions.

Alexis had clearance to enter the base despite two gun-related brushes with the law, and he had been discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve two years earlier after a series of misconduct issues.

News reports say investigators found Alexis had paranoia, a sleep disorder and was hearing voices. He had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems.

Early Tuesday, U.S. senators remembered the victims with a prayer and a moment of silence. Later, at the Navy Memorial near the U.S. Capitol, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and other senior officials placed a wreath honoring the men and women who were gunned down.


Alexis opened fire Monday on employees of the Naval Sea Systems Command, using a shotgun and a handgun he is believed to have taken from a wounded security officer.

In addition to the dead, eight people were hurt in Monday's incident. All are expected to survive.

Police released the identities of seven of those killed late Monday, with their ages ranging from the late 40s to early 70s.

Alexis is a New York City native and a resident of Fort Worth, Texas. News outlets say Alexis had been arrested in two previous shooting incidents, in 2004 in Seattle and in Fort Worth in 2010.

Late Monday, grieving residents gathered outside the Naval Yard and held a silent candlelight vigil.

President Barack Obama has ordered all flags across the country to fly at half-staff through sunset Friday to honor the victims.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs