NYC native kills 12 at Navy Yard, is later shot dead by cops: Authorities
UPDATED 8:52 P.M.: A decorated military veteran and New York City native who had lived in Queens and Brooklyn opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday 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, currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, a onetime Navy contractor who had two gun-related brushes with the law. He received a general discharge 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.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray said 13 people were killed and a dozen or more injured at the Naval Sea Systems Command. About 3,000 people work there.
The motive — and how he breached security — remained unknown.
Hours after the attack, police were searching for a possible second suspect.
Somehow the gunman managed to enter the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building about 8:20 a.m. and started picking off victims 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 command where the shooting takes place requires two separate identification badges, one to get on the base and another to access the building, according to a source who works at the Navy Yard and requested anonymity.
Police patrol officers and active shooter teams responding to calls fought a series of gun battles with the shooter until he was killed, Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
“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.
Alexis was born in Flushing, according to the FBI.
He grew up in Brooklyn with his mother and father, his aunt told The Washington Post. “We haven’t seen him for years,” Helen Weeks told the paper in a telephone interview.
The family reportedly still lives in Brooklyn.
Alexis 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.
“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. He had been a civilian information technology contractor for the Navy, though it was unclear whether Alexis was working at the Washington Navy Yard at the time of the incident.
Here's what we know about Aaron Alexis
-- 34 years old
-- Born in NYC, lived in Queens and Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., and
Fort Worth, Texas
-- Family reportedly still lives in
-- Served in the Navy and worked for a Navy contractor
-- Arrests in the past related to illegally discharging a weapon.