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 Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs