A former Naval reservist who was recently working as a defense contractor shot and killed 12 people after using his pass to gain entry to the Washington Naval yard on Monday.
The gunman was identified by authorities as 34 year old Aaron Alexis after numerous conflicting reports about the weapons used, number of shooters and identity of the shooters from the media, the Department of Defense and the Washington DC Metropolitan Police. Alexis reportedly had a history of misconduct and mental health problems, although neither apparently prevented him from legally purchasing a Remington 870 shotgun in Virginia or obtaining top secret clearance at a sensitive Naval facility. Originally from Brooklyn, Alexis served in the US Navy reserves from 2004 to 2011.
While in the Navy, Alexis had a number of incidents including unauthorized absences, insubordination and disorderly conduct on his record. After a 2008 incident in which he was thrown out of an Atlanta nightclub after damaging some of the furnishings, the Navy reportedly sought a general discharge against Alexis. While not carrying the same stigma as a dishonorable discharge, it still would've made it more difficult for Alexis to find work as a civilian. Instead, Alexis received an honorable discharge from the Navy and eventually found work as a civilian contractor.
Alexis was allegedly involved in two prior incidents involving guns- while living in Seattle, he allegedly shot out the tires of a construction worker's car in 2004. In 2010, he fired a shot into the apartment above his while living in Ft Worth, TX in what he claimed was an accident.
More disturbingly, Alexis told Newport, RI police six weeks prior to Monday's shooting that he was hearing voices while he had checked into a hotel in town and claimed that three people were following him and using some sort of microwave machine to keep him awake by sending vibrations into his body. The Newport police officer contacted Naval police who assured him that they would follow up on it.
Alexis reportedly had his security credentials renewed over the summer and is believed to have used them to gain access to the building on Monday where he shot and killed a security guard before taking the guard's sidearm and continuing his rampage, firing on a cafeteria area where some workers were having breakfast. Police and security took anywhere from five to seven minutes to respond, with some eyewitnesses reportedly directing them to a different building. Numerous media outlets erroneously reported that Alexis had used an AR-15 in his rampage, with the New York Daily News proclaiming 'Same Gun, Different Slay' on their front page. There were also reports from a police spokesman of additional gunmen which later turned out to be erroneous. Alexis was reportedly shot and killed by Washington DC police officers from the SWAT team.
Authorities are retracing Alexis' steps and searching for a motive. Alexis reportedly told some friends that he felt cheated out of some benefits he felt the Navy still owed him after his discharge.