Local News

Monday, Sep 16 2013 07:29 AM

13 killed in Washington Navy Yard shooting rampage

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    By AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Security personnel respond near the Washington Navy Yard where a gunman was reported in Washington, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and officials said six people were killed and as many as 10 were wounded, including a law enforcement officer.

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    By AP Photo/Susan Walsh

    A U.S. Park Police helicopter with a person in the rescue basket, flies over a building at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.

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    By AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    A U.S. Park Police helicopter circles the Washington Navy Yard Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, after a gunman was reported at the Navy Yard. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Navy said it was searching for an active shooter at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work. The exact number of people killed and the conditions of those wounded was not immediately known.

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    By AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Armed police prepare to enter the Washington Navy Yard as they respond to a shooting in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Navy yard.

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    By AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

    Dr. Janis M. Orlowski, chief operating officer at Washington Hospital Center speaks at a news conference in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, about the conditions of the people who were brought to the hospital from the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard building. Orlowski said the hospital was treating three gunshot victims in critical condition. One was Washington, D.C., metropolitan police officer and two were civilian women.

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    By AP Photo/Susan Walsh

    District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier briefs reporters on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Standing to the right of Lanier is District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning

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    By AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    Police work the scene on M Street, SE in Washington near the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. The U.S. Navy says one person is injured after a shooting at a Navy building in Washington. Police and emergency crews gathered Monday morning outside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where the shooting was reported.

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    By AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

    A police boat patrols near the scene of a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington. At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard, and officials said six people were killed and as many as 10 were wounded, including a law enforcement officer.

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    By AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

    President Barack Obama speaks about the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.

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    By AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

    President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington. Before speaking about the economy Obama spoke on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, mourning what he called "yet another mass shooting" in the United States that he says took the life of American patriots.

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    By AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

    People hold their hands to their heads as they are escorted out of the building where a deadly shooting rampage occurred at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. One shooter was killed, but police said they were looking for two other possible gunmen wearing military-style uniforms.

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    By AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

    A U.S. Capitol Police officer patrols the steps at the Capitol as the investigation continues at the nearby Washington Navy Yard where at least one gunman opened fire, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.

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    By AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Police responding to the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, deploy on the rooftop of a Navy Yard building in Washington, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.

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    By AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Police officers responding to shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, leave the facility. At least one gunman launched an attack inside the Washington Navy Yard, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation's capital, authorities said

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    By AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Police who responded to shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, leave the facility. At least one gunman launched an attack inside the Washington Navy Yard, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation's capital, authorities said.

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    By AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    People coming out of the Washington Navy Yard are given water and food by emergency personnel responding to the shooting Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. At least one gunman launched an attack inside the Washington Navy Yard, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation's capital, authorities said.

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BY ERIC TUCKER, BRETT ZONGKER and LOLITA C. BALDOR The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A former Navy reservist went on a shooting rampage Monday inside a building at the heavily secured Washington Navy Yard, firing from a balcony onto office workers in the cafeteria below, authorities and witnesses said. Thirteen people were killed, including the gunman.

Authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been disguised in an olive-drab military-style uniform.

But as the day wore on and night fell, the rampage increasingly appeared to be the work of a lone gunman, and Navy Yard employees were gradually being released from the complex and children were let out of their locked-down schools.

Investigators said they had not established a motive for the attack, which unfolded about 8:20 a.m. in the heart of the nation’s capital, less than four miles from the White House and two miles from the Capitol.

As for whether it may have been a terrorist attack, Mayor Vincent Gray said: "We don’t have any reason to think that at this stage." But he said the possibility had not been ruled out.

It was the deadliest shooting rampage at a U.S.-based military installation since Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas. He was convicted last month and sentenced to death.

President Barack Obama lamented yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American patriots. He promised to make sure "whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."

The FBI took charge of the investigation and identified the gunman killed in the attack as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Texas. He died after a running gunbattle with police, investigators said.

Authorities were investigating how he got onto the base. Officials said he may have had a badge that allowed access.

At the time of the rampage, he was working in information technology with a company that was a Defense Department subcontractor.

Alexis was a full-time Navy reservist from 2007 to early 2011, leaving as a petty officer third class, the Navy said. It did not say why he left. He had been an aviation electrician’s mate with a unit in Fort Worth, Texas.

Patricia Ward, a logistics-management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria getting breakfast.

"It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running," Ward said.

In addition to those killed, more than a dozen people were hurt, including a police officer and two female civilians who were shot and wounded. They were all expected to survive.

The Washington Navy Yard is a sprawling labyrinth of buildings and streets protected by armed guards and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs at doors and gates to come and go. About 20,000 people work there.

The rampage took place at Building 197, the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. About 3,000 people work at headquarters, many of them civilians.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people in the cafeteria on the main floor. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.

Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.

"He just turned and started firing," Brundidge said.

Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said the gunman fired toward her and Brundidge.

"He aimed high and missed," she said. "He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, ’Get out of the building.’"

Police would not give any details on the gunman’s weaponry, but witnesses said the man they saw had a long gun — which can mean a rifle or a shotgun.

In the confusion, police said around midday that they were searching for two men who may have taken part in the attack — one carrying a handgun and wearing a tan Navy-style uniform and a beret, the other armed with a long gun and wearing an olive-green uniform. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.

But later in the day, police said the man in the tan uniform had been identified and was not involved in the shooting.

As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded streets around the complex, a helicopter hovered, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.

Security was tightened at other federal buildings. Senate officials shut down their side of the Capitol while authorities searched for the potential second attacker. The House remained open.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, was at the base at the time the shooting began but was moved unharmed to a nearby military installation.

Anxious relatives and friends of those who work at the complex waited to hear from loved ones.

Tech Sgt. David Reyes, who works at Andrews Air Force Base, said he was waiting to pick up his wife, Dina, who was under lockdown in a building next to where the shooting happened. She sent him a text message.

"They are under lockdown because they just don’t know," Reyes said. "They have to check every building in there, and they have to check every room and just, of course, a lot of rooms and a lot of buildings."

According to public records, Alexis’ neighbor called Fort Worth police in September 2010 after she was nearly struck by a bullet that came from his downstairs apartment. Alexis told police he was cleaning his gun when it went off.

He was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits but was not prosecuted.

— Associated Press writers Jesse Holland, Stacy A. Anderson, Brian Witte and Ben Nuckols in Washington contributed to this report.
 

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