September 17, 2013 – Gunman and 12 Victims Killed in Shooting at D.C. Navy Yard: A former Navy reservist killed at least 12 people on Monday in a mass shooting at a secure military facility that led the authorities to lock down part of the nation’s capital — even after the gunman was killed — in a hunt for two other armed men spotted by video cameras, officials said.
But by Monday evening, the federal authorities said they believed the shooting was the act of a lone gunman, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, who was working for a military subcontractor.
The chaos at the facility, the Washington Navy Yard, started just after 8 a.m. Civilian employees described a scene of confusion as shots erupted through the hallways of the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, on the banks of the Anacostia River a few miles from the White House and about a half-mile from the Capitol.
“I heard three gunshots, pow, pow, pow, straight in a row,” said Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist from Woodbridge, Va., who was in the cafeteria on the first floor when the shooting started. “About three seconds later, there were four more gunshots, and all of the people in the cafeteria were panicking, trying to figure out which way we were going to run out.”
Police officers who swarmed the military facility exchanged fire with Mr. Alexis, 34, a former naval reservist in Fort Worth (pictured above). Police officers shot Mr. Alexis to death, law enforcement officials said, but not before a dozen people were killed and several others, including a city police officer, were wounded and taken to local hospitals.
Officials said Mr. Alexis drove a rental car to the base and entered using his access as a contractor and shot an officer and one other person outside Building 197, the Sea Systems Command headquarters. Inside, Mr. Alexis made his way to a floor overlooking an atrium and took aim at employees eating breakfast below.
“He was shooting down from above the people,” one law enforcement official said. “That is where he does most of his damage.”
The names of seven of the victims were released late Monday: Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73; Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46; and Vishnu Pandit, 61. Officials said names of the other victims would be released after their families had been contacted. All of the victims were believed to be civilians or contractors. No active duty military personnel were killed, said Chief Cathy L. Lanier of Washington.
One victim was shot in the left temple and was pronounced dead within a minute of arriving at George Washington University Hospital. “This injury was not survivable by any stretch,” a hospital official told reporters. “The patient was dead on the way to the hospital.”
Eight people were injured. Three of them were shot, including Officer Scott Williams of the Washington police. The others suffered injuries from falls or complained of chest pains. Officer Williams, who served in the canine unit, underwent several hours of surgery for gunshot wounds to his legs. A second victim suffered a gunshot wound to her shoulder. A bullet grazed a third victim’s head but did not penetrate her skull, according to doctors at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
Three weapons were found on Mr. Alexis: an AR-15 assault rifle (U.S. Military M-16), a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol, a senior law enforcement officer said. It was unclear whether he had brought all the guns with him, another law enforcement official said, or if he had taken one or more of them from his victims.
Officials said they were still searching for a motive as they asked the public for help by posting pictures of Mr. Alexis on the F.B.I. Web site. The agency is treating the shooting as a criminal investigation, not one related to terrorism.
Navy officials said late Monday that Mr. Alexis had worked as a contractor in information technology. A spokesman for Hewlett-Packard said Mr. Alexis had been an employee of a company called The Experts, a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract.
Navy officials said Mr. Alexis was given a general discharge in 2011 after exhibiting a “pattern of misbehavior,” which officials declined to detail. The year before, Mr. Alexis was arrested in Fort Worth for discharging a firearm after an upstairs neighbor said he had confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise, according to a Fort Worth police report.
The police in Seattle, where Mr. Alexis once lived, said Monday that they had arrested him in 2004 for shooting the tires of another man’s vehicle in what Mr. Alexis later described to detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout.”
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Congressional delegate from the District of Columbia, called the episode “an attack on our city.”
“It’s an attack on our country,” she added.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray called it a “long, tragic day.” President Obama praised the victims of the shooting as patriots.
The tension in the city was heightened for much of the day as the police said they were unsure whether Mr. Alexis had acted alone. Officials said surveillance video of people fleeing the scene of the shooting showed two armed men dressed in different military uniforms and wielding guns. For hours, the police said they believed that there might have been three gunmen and that two of them were on the loose in the city.
The reports of multiple suspects generated confusion across Washington as the authorities offered conflicting messages about any continuing danger. Officials did not move to secure the city, leaving the city’s subway system to operate normally. But out of an “abundance of caution,” Terrance W. Gainer, the Senate sergeant-at-arms, put the Senate complex into lockdown after 3 p.m. The Senate had recessed in the early afternoon.
Around the same time, the Washington Nationals postponed a game against the division-leading Atlanta Braves, which had been scheduled for 7 p.m. at Nationals Park, next to the navy yard. The Nationals’ Web site said “Postponed: Tragedy” and notified fans that the teams would play a doubleheader on Tuesday instead.
The city was further shaken Monday evening when someone tossed firecrackers over the fence at the White House, causing loud bangs and prompting a swift and aggressive response from Secret Service agents, who tackled a man in white shorts and a T-shirt on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The morning was drizzly at the navy yard, which sits at one end of the 11th Street Bridge, a major thoroughfare bringing traffic into the city from Maryland.
Within minutes of the first reports of shots, hundreds of police officers and naval officers surrounded the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 service members, civilians and contractors work on the Navy’s fleet. Military helicopters circled the facility as police vehicles and other emergency vehicles rushed to the scene. A helicopter lowered a basket to the roof of one of the buildings and appeared to be taking away victims.
The navy yard is protected by a high wall, but someone with official access could have driven a car into the parking lot without having the trunk inspected.
Navy yard employees evacuated from the building described a chaotic situation as an individual armed with a rifle roamed the hallways shooting at people.
Cmdr. Tim Jirus said he was on the fourth floor when he heard gunshots and saw people start running through the office. The commander said he was at the back of the building when a man approached him, asking about the shooting. Moments later, the man was shot in the head.
“We had a conversation for about a minute,” Commander Jirus said.
Asked how he escaped when the man next to him was shot, he said: “Luck. Grace of God. Whatever you want to call it.”
The astrological chart for the start of the shootings was drawn for September 16, 2013, at 8:01AM, for the Naval Yard in Washington D.C. The angels of the chart (cusps of the 1st, 10th, 7th and 4th house cusps) clearly show the event was triggered by transiting Uranus square transiting Pluto on the 4th and 7th house cusps. Mercury opposite Uranus reflects the sudden and unexpected nature of the event. Moon opposite Mars, shows the emotional breaking point of the shooter; causing him to do such a dastardly thing. The death house (the 8th house) is ruled by Venus, located in the sign of death (Scorpio); which also contains Saturn (in the 2nd house of emotional poverty and Scorpio = determination) and the North Node (fate). The three Scorpio objects are trine Neptune, reflecting the confusion surrounding the entire event. The many hard aspects to Mars show the aggression of the shooter and the final outcome, i.e., death to the shooter and many people. Mars in Leo = A strong need for the shooter to express himself in a dramatic and aggressive way and to make an impact on his surroundings. It also reflects the arrogance of this man. (Credits – The New York Times and Solar Fire Gold v8.1.2).
The Master of Disaster