by Anna Esslinger
On Sept 16, a gunman went on a shooting rampage is the Washington D.C. Navy Yard, leaving thirteen dead. Police identified the shooter as thirty-four year old Aaron Alexis, a contractor from Fort Worth, TX. Alexis injured at least a dozen.
The shooting began around 8:00 AM when three shots were fired at Building 197, the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems command. Alexis was situated on the fourth-floor overlook of the building and was shooting at people in the cafeteria. After the shots were fired, chaos spread around the building. Worker Gregory Dade and a fellow colleague locked themselves in a second-floor office. In their hideout, they heard women screaming, glass crashing, a series of gunshots, and then finally police intervention.
The shooting sent panic throughout D.C.; schools, offices, and homes were all on lockdown. Even the Senate buildings in the Capitol were shut down until 3 p.m.
Alexis joined the armed forces in May 2007 and left in January 2011. He worked as an aviation electrician and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Alexis was carrying three weapons: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a semi-automatic pistol. Officials say they do not know yet if Alexis had been employed as a defense contractor or a civilian employee of the navy, and are uncertain if he was assigned to work at the Naval Yard.
This incident is the single-worst loss of life in D.C. since 1982, when an airplane crashed into the Potomac River, killing 78. President Obama issued a statement expressing his sympathy for those affected by the shooting, saying, “I’ve made it clear to my team that we want the investigation to be seamless, so that local and federal authorities are working together.”
(Sources: New York Times, Washington Post)