One Gunman, 12 Victims Dead After Navy Yard Shooting

The FBI identifies the slain shooter, a 34-year-old man from Texas.

Armed police prepare to enter the Washington Navy Yard as they respond.
National Journal
Marina Koren, Brian Resnick, Patrick Reis and Matt Berman
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Marina Koren Brian Resnick and Patrick Reis and Matt Berman
Sept. 16, 2013, 5:47 a.m.

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An act­ive in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to a Monday morn­ing mass shoot­ing is un­der­way at Wash­ing­ton D.C.’s Navy Yard. Po­lice of­ficers are among the wounded, in­clud­ing one of­ficer who was shot, ac­cord­ing to the MPD. One po­lice of­ficer is cur­rently at Wash­ing­ton Hos­pit­al Cen­ter and is ex­pec­ted to make a re­cov­ery, a hos­pit­al spokes­wo­man said at a 4 p.m. press con­fer­ence.

The FBI has iden­ti­fied the slain shoot­er as Aaron Alex­is, a 34-year-old man from Texas with a pos­sible crim­in­al re­cord. Ac­cord­ing to the Forth Worth Star Tele­gram, the man was ar­res­ted in 2010 for dis­char­ging a fire­arm in­to a ceil­ing of a wo­man’s apart­ment. He was nev­er charged. The AP re­ports he was a Navy re­serv­ist from 2007 to 2011. NBC news iden­ti­fies him as a ci­vil­ian con­tract­or.

Des­pite earli­er hunts for a second or third pos­sible sus­pect in the vi­ol­ence, the dead gun­man ap­pears to be the only shoot­er.

The FBI’s Valer­ie Par­lave de­scribes the situ­ation as “a very act­ive in­vest­ig­a­tion.” D.C. May­or Vin­cent Gray con­firms at a 4 p.m. press con­fer­ence that 13, in­clud­ing the gun­man, are dead. 

“We don’t have any reas­on at this stage to sus­pect ter­ror­ism, but cer­tainly it has not been ruled out,” Gray said.

Speak­ing about the oth­er po­ten­tial shoot­ers at an earli­er press con­fer­ence, Lan­i­er said, “We have no in­form­a­tion to be­lieve that either of those folks are mil­it­ary per­son­nel, but we do have in­form­a­tion that those in­di­vidu­als are wear­ing mil­it­ary style uni­forms.”

You can see her full re­marks here:

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Pres­id­ent Obama, speak­ing about the “hor­rif­ic tragedy” just be­fore a planned speech on the eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery, re­ferred to the event as “yet an­oth­er mass shoot­ing.” He con­tin­ued:

I’ve made it clear to my team that I want the in­vest­ig­a­tion to be seam­less so that fed­er­al and loc­al au­thor­it­ies are work­ing to­geth­er. And as this in­vest­ig­a­tion moves for­ward, we will do everything in our power to make sure who­ever car­ried out this cow­ardly act is held re­spons­ible.

In the mean­time, we send our thoughts and pray­ers to all at the Navy Yard who have been touched by this tragedy. We thank them for their ser­vice. We stand with the fam­il­ies of those who have been harmed. They’re go­ing to need our love and sup­port.

And as we learn more about the cour­ageous Amer­ic­ans who died today, their lives, their fam­il­ies, their pat­ri­ot­ism, we will hon­or their ser­vice to the na­tion they helped to make great. And ob­vi­ously, we’re go­ing to be in­vest­ig­at­ing thor­oughly what happened as we do so many of these shoot­ings, sadly, that have happened. And do everything that we can to try to pre­vent them.

The may­or, speak­ing from a yel­low note­pad at a press con­fer­ence, said po­lice are “still try­ing to con­firm the num­ber of fatal­it­ies,” and he called it an “isol­ated in­cid­ent,” as far as au­thor­it­ies know.

By 1:30 PM, Tech Ser­geant Dav­id Reyes of the U.S. Air Force was the only man in the crowd of re­port­ers in green fa­tigues. At 8:30 this morn­ing, his wife had texted him to say her Navy Yard build­ing was on lock-down. Reyes, who works at An­drews, im­me­di­ately turned on the tele­vi­sion. Once he saw what was hap­pen­ing, he came to the scene.

Reyes’ wife works in the build­ing next to where the shoot­ings oc­curred, and was sheltered there. She works with many ci­vil­ians, all of whom were pretty hungry, Reyes told Na­tion­al Journ­al. Reyes said the situ­ation was something of a “lo­gist­ics night­mare.” Around 3:20 re­ports in­dic­ated that Navy Yard work­ers were be­gin­ning to leave the fa­cil­ity.

A lone food cart re­mained open at the in­ter­sec­tion of M and 3rd Streets, just a few blocks from the site of the shoot­ing, serving food to re­port­ers and the oc­ca­sion­al passerby:

A friend of the vendor came to check on her friend as soon as she heard the news. “It’s a sad day for all of us,” she said. “I’m pray­ing for every­one.”

The Navy con­firmed that an act­ive shoot­er was in­side the Nav­al Sea Sys­tems Com­mand Headquar­ters build­ing at 8:20 AM, and a shel­ter-in-place or­der was is­sued for per­son­nel.

Throughout the day, there were con­flict­ing re­ports on the num­ber of shoot­ers at the scene. A Met­ro­pol­it­an Po­lice spokes­per­son told The Wash­ing­ton Post earli­er in the day that three were in­volved. The Post later up­dated its re­port to say that po­lice be­lieve there were two shoot­ers on the scene, not three. The D.C.’s may­or’s of­fice then cut that down to two.

A spokes­per­son for the Med­star Wash­ing­ton Hos­pit­al Cen­ter gave some in­dic­a­tion of what type of weapon was used on the scene: “I would tell you from the re­ports of the vic­tims, it was — it had to be a semi­auto­mat­ic, be­cause they are talk­ing about gun­shots that they heard in rap­id suc­ces­sion.” You can see her full re­marks here:

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Much of Wash­ing­ton has been shut down as the search for po­ten­tial shoot­ers goes on. A little be­fore 3 p.m., the Sen­ate Ser­geant at Arms an­nounced that there would be a “shel­ter in place” for Sen­ate of­fices, with no one en­ter­ing or leav­ing the build­ing for at least two hours. That was lif­ted for staffers around 5 p.m. The House is not in ses­sion and is not locked down, the House Ser­geant at Arms say­ing they are re­ly­ing on cap­it­ol po­lice for se­cur­ity. Schools in the area were on lock­down, but were dis­missed a nor­mal sched­ule. All flights were groun­ded this morn­ing at Ron­ald Re­agan Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­al Air­port, but that or­der has since been lif­ted.

A gun­man was shoot­ing from the fourth floor in­to the build­ing’s cafet­er­ia on the first floor, a wit­ness told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Here’s what you need to know about the Yard it­self:

An aer­i­al shot of the yard from 1991:

A tor­pedo shop at the yard dur­ing World War One:

And a shot from between 1861-1865:

A map of the area:


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