News / USA

Shooting Rampage Leaves 13 Dead at DC Navy Yard

Shooting Rampage Leaves 13 Dead at DC Navy Yardi
X
September 17, 2013 12:59 AM
Twelve people are dead and several others wounded after a lone gunman went on shooting rampage at a U.S. Navy facility in Washington Monday. Law enforcement agencies in the nation's capital responded quickly to the scene, killing the gunman after a large-scale search at the base. VOA's Chris Simkins has more on the story.
Watch related story by Chris Simkins
Reuters
A U.S. military veteran opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday in a burst of violence that killed 13 people, including the gunman, and set off waves of panic at the military installation just miles from the White House and U.S. Capitol.
 
The FBI identified the suspect as Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas, a Navy contractor who had two gun-related brushes with the law. He was discharged from the Navy Reserve in 2011 after a series of misconduct issues, a Navy official said.
 
He was killed in one of several gun battles with police after he entered the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters about 8:20 a.m. (1220 GMT) and started picking off victims in a cafeteria from a fourth-floor atrium, witnesses said.
 
That set off pandemonium, with fire alarms sounding and security officers yelling at people to leave the building. Hundreds fled, some scrambling over walls to escape the gunfire. A loudspeaker announcement ordered those who remained to stay in their offices.
 
The motive remained unknown. He was armed with an AR-15 military-style assault rifle, a double-barreled shotgun and a handgun, a federal law enforcement source said.
 
About 12 people were injured, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray said, though it was unclear how many of them were shot. About 3,000 people worked in the building.
 
Hours later, police were searching for a possible second suspect in an incident that raised questions about security at the Washington Navy Yard, about a mile (1.6 km) south of the U.S. Capitol and three miles (five km) from the White House.
 
Police patrol officers and active shooter teams put an end to the rampage, shooting Alexis dead. Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the gun battles produced acts of heroism she could not yet reveal.
 
“Everybody was panicking and trying to decide which way to get out. A few of us just ran out the side exit,” Patricia Ward, who works at the Navy Yard, told reporters.
 
Security guards told people to “run, run, run,” Ward said.

  • Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey present a wreath at the Navy Memorial in Washington to remember the victims of Monday's deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • A Navy Yard employee walks to lay a bouquet of flowers by an anchor outside of the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • The American flags surrounding the Washington Monument fly at half-staff as ordered by President Barack Obama, one day after the deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 17, 2013.
  • Emergency vehicles and law enforcement personnel respond to a shooting at an entrance to the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • Police respond to the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • U.S. Capitol Police personnel keep watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol as the investigation continues to the shooting at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • Police who responded to shooting at the Washington Navy Yard leave the facility, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Metropolitan Police Department officer walks near the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A police helicopter is seen as police walk on the roof of a building as they respond to a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A helicopter lifts a person off the roof as police respond to the report of a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • Police work the scene near the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A police vehicle is seen as police respond to a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • Police work the scene after a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.

It was the worst attack at a U.S. military installation since U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, killing 13 people and wounding 31 others. Hasan, who said he acted in retaliation for U.S. wars in Muslim countries, was convicted and sentenced to death by a military jury in August.
 
“We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened at another military installation, in our nation's capital,” said U.S. President Barack Obama, who vowed to enact “sensible” gun control measures after a gunman shot dead 20 school children and six adults at an elementary school in Connecticut last December.
 
Interest in Buddhism, Thailand
 
Alexis, a one-time Texas resident who was known to worship at a Buddhist temple, served in the military and most recently was furthering his education while holding a job in the private sector, his father, Algernon Alexis, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
 
These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.
x
These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.
These images released by the FBI show photos of Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013, and who was killed after he fired on a police officer.
“This comes as a complete shock,” the elder Alexis said when told his son was the suspected shooter.
 
Alexis served full time in the U.S. Navy's Reserve from May 2007 to January 2011, becoming an aviation electrician, and he received the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Navy official told Reuters.
 
He was recently hired as a civilian information technology contractor to work on the Navy and Marine Corps intranet and was given a security clearance classified as “secret,” his company's chief executive told Reuters.
 
“He did have a secret clearance. And he did have a CAC (common access card),” said Thomas Hoshko, CEO of the company, called The Experts.
 
Alexis was arrested on Sept. 4, 2010, in Fort Worth, Texas, on a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm but the case was dropped when investigators determined he was cleaning his gun and it accidentally fired, Tarrant County prosecutors said.
 
He was also arrested in Seattle in 2004 for shooting out a construction worker's car tires in an anger-fueled “blackout” triggered by perceived “disrespect,” according to the Seattle Police Department.
 
In recent years, he developed a love for Thai culture, learning to speak the language and working at the “Happy Bowl” restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2008, said Tiki Confer, 64, owner of another Thai restaurant nearby. He worshipped at a Buddhist temple, she said.
 
“He was a very nice boy. When I saw his picture on the news, I was shocked,” Confer told Reuters.
 
U.S. Capitol Police personnel keep watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol as the investigation continues to the shooting at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.U.S. Capitol Police personnel keep watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol as the investigation continues to the shooting at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.
x
U.S. Capitol Police personnel keep watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol as the investigation continues to the shooting at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.
U.S. Capitol Police personnel keep watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol as the investigation continues to the shooting at the nearby Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.
The shooting rattled the U.S. capital, forcing the Federal Aviation Administration to briefly suspend departures at Reagan National Airport. The District of Columbia Public Schools put six schools and an administration building on lockdown as a precaution.
 
The Washington Nationals baseball team postponed their game against the Atlanta Braves scheduled for Monday night at nearby Nationals Park.
 
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called the Navy Yard shootings “an attack on the Navy family,” and the shooting revealed a potentially serious security breach.
 
Military personnel are generally banned from carrying weapons on military installations but most people with proper credentials are not routinely checked for firearms.
 
“It will be interesting to see as this develops who the shooter is, how he got in,” said Navy Commander Tim Jirus, who was in charge of evacuating the building. “Right now a lot of people are wondering just how safe the building is or just how safe the office environment is.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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