Shooting Rampage at Navy Yard in D.C. Leaves 13 Dead

Donna Leinwand Leger et al., USA Today, September 16, 2013

A shooting rampage at a U.S. Navy command complex in Washington left at least 13 people dead Monday, including one man identified as a gunman, authorities said.

Authorities identified a gunman as Aaron Alexis, 34, a civilian contractor from Fort Worth.

Aaron Alexis

Aaron Alexis

The carnage and desperate efforts by responding officers to stop the gunman gripped the nation’s capital city in a tense, day-long drama.

Officials said at least three people were wounded in the gunfire at the Naval Sea Systtems Command headquarters at Washington Navy Yard, including a law enforcement officer. Hospital officials said all three were expected to recover.

Hundreds of workers in the Navy complex were forced to hide in place or flee for safety while gunshots echoed. {snip}

President Obama said he is mourning “yet another mass shooting” and called it a “cowardly act.”

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray said the death toll, including a gunman, was 13. The situation remained fluid, and officials cautioned that the death toll could change.


Helicopters filled the skies around the Navy complex on the Anacostia River in the Southeast quadrant of the city, an area that has seen a development revival in recent years. Some of the copters airlifted the injured away in baskets suspended beneath the aircraft.


Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said one shooter was killed in an exchange of gunfire with authorities and one police officer was wounded. Federal officials identified the dead shooter as Alexis.

Internal security at the Navy Yard building had already “identified and engaged the shooter” by the time the first DC police arrived, Lanier said.

She said police exchanged gunfire with the shooter “multiple times” before the final gun battle.

“It’s one of the worst things we’ve seen in Washington, D.C.,” Lanier said.

Lanier earlier said authorities had information indicating there could have been more shooters. One was later cleared, but police still were searching for a man wearing a military-style uniform and carrying a long gun, she said.


A federal law enforcement official told USA TODAY that Alexis was armed with an AR-15, a shotgun and a handgun. The federal official, who requested anonymity due to the fluid nature of the investigation, said there is no firm evidence that anyone else fired weapons in the attack.


Alexis may have gained entry into the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card, said a federal law enforcement official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.


Rick Mason, a program management analyst, said a gunman began shooting from a fourth-floor overlook in the hallway outside his office. He said the gunman was aiming down at people in the building’s cafeteria on the first floor.

Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria. “I heard three shots — pow, pow, pow. Thirty seconds later I heard four more shots.”

Then panic, as people tried to get out of the cafeteria. “A lot of people were just panicking. There were no screams or anything because we were in shock.”


The first news broke with the Navy reporting on its Twitter feed that there was an “active shooter” at Building 197 at the Navy Yard, and that three shots had been fired at 8:20 a.m. ET. {snip}


At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, chief medical officer Janis Orlowski said the hospital was treating three victims — a male D.C. police officer and two women.

She said the police officer had multiple gunshot wounds to his legs and was in surgery. One woman was shot in the shoulder, and the other in the head and hand. All are expected to survive, she said.

The Navy Yard is located on the banks of the Anacostia River, a few blocks from the Nationals baseball stadium. It’s in an urban area where the development of new parks, shops and apartments has been ongoing.



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