Tag Archive: Washington Navy Yard

Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis.

The Washington Navy Yard gunman who killed 12 people last year conned Veterans Affairs doctors into believing he had no mental health issues before the shootings.

WASHINGTON — The gunman who killed 12 people in last year’s rampage at Washington’s Navy Yard lied so convincingly to Veterans Affairs doctors before the shootings that they concluded he had no mental health issues despite serious problems and encounters with police during the same period, according to a review by The Associated Press of his confidential medical files.

Gunman’s doc. before rampage: ‘No problem there’

Gunman's doc. before rampage: 'No problem there'
7 hr ago 1:38 Views: 1k AP Online Video

Just weeks before the shootings, a doctor treating him for insomnia noted that the patient worked for the Defense Department but wrote hauntingly “no problem there.”

The AP obtained more than 100 pages of treatment and disability claims evaluation records for Aaron Alexis, spanning more than two years. They show Alexis complaining of minor physical ailments, including foot and knee injuries, slight hearing loss and later insomnia, but resolutely denying any mental health issues. He directly denied having suicidal or homicidal thoughts when government doctors asked him about it just three weeks before the shootings.

In a bizarre incident in Newport, R.I., Alexis told police on Aug. 7 that disembodied voices were harassing him at his hotel using a microwave machine to prevent him from sleeping. After police reported the incident to the Navy, his employer, a defense contracting company, pulled his access to classified material for two days after his mental health problems became evident but restored it quickly and never told Navy officials it had done so.

Just 16 days later, after Alexis told a VA emergency room doctor in Providence that he couldn’t sleep, the doctor wrote that his speech and thoughts seemed “clear and focused” and noted that he “denies flashbacks, denies recent stress.”

Related: 12 killed by lone gunman in Navy Yard rampage

The medical records said Alexis, 34, was found sleeping in the VA waiting room in Providence on Aug. 23 while waiting to see a doctor. During that visit he was prescribed 50 milligrams of trazodone, an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication that in such low doses can be used to treat insomnia.

“Denies any pain except discomfort rt (right) temple,” a nurse wrote on Aug. 23. “Pt (patient) taking no medications including any otc (over-the-counter) medications.”

An attending doctor provided additional details, saying Alexis suffered from fatigue after sleeping only two or three hours every night over the past three weeks.

“Speech and thoughts clear and focused. Denies flashbacks. Denies recent stress. Denies drugs, cocaine, heroin, caffeine product, depression, anxiety, chest pain, sob (shortness of breath), nightmares. He denies taking nap during the day. Denies SI (suicidal ideation) or HI (homicidal ideation),” the doctor wrote.

“He works in the Defense Department, no problem there,” the doctor added.

The medical records showed that Alexis answered “no” when asked, “Do you have anything that could be considered a weapon?” The VA told the AP that was a standard question it asks veterans whom it treats in a triage setting.

Five days later, on Aug. 28, Alexis visited a VA medical facility in Washington, again complaining of sleeplessness: “Patient presents to ER with c/o (case of) awakening each morning about 4 a.m. like clockwork and he cannot figure out why this is happening.”

He answered “no” when asked whether he was having feelings of hopelessness for the present and the future. Another doctor that night described the examination as “unremarkable.” The VA gave him 10 more tablets of trazodone and sent him home just before 9 p.m.

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Doctors found ‘no problem’ with Navy Yard shooter weeks before rampage

Published time: January 31, 2014 21:31
Aaron Alexis moves through the hallways of Building #197 carrying a Remington 870 shotgun in this undated handout photo released by the FBI (Reuters)

Aaron Alexis moves through the hallways of Building #197 carrying a Remington 870 shotgun in this undated handout photo released by the FBI (Reuters)

Veteran Affairs doctors were so sure the Washington, DC, Navy Yard gunman was clear of mental issues they declared there was “no problem” with him just weeks before his shooting spree killed 12 people.

According to a new report by the Associated Press, medical records for the 34-year-old gunman Aaron Alexis showed him complaining of insomnia multiple times, as well as physical problems such as hearing loss and foot injuries. Three weeks before his violent outburst, Alexis adamantly denied harboring any suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

In early August, Alexis told police that disembodied voices were using a microwave in his hotel room to keep him awake. The defense contractor employing Alexis revoked his ability to access classified material after this came to their attention, but reinstated his access soon afterwards and declined to inform the Navy of its actions.

Just over two weeks later, Alexis was treated by a VA doctor for insomnia and given an antidepressant to help him sleep. The medical staff did not find anything of significant concern.

Speech and thoughts clear and focused. Denies flashbacks. Denies recent stress. Denies drugs, cocaine, heroin, caffeine product, depression, anxiety, chest pain, [shortness of breath], nightmares. He denies taking nap during the day. Denies [suicidal ideation] or [homicidal ideation],” the doctor wrote, according to the AP.

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Military.com News

How Can Red Flags Be Missed Like Navy Shooter’s?

Sep 20, 2013

aaron alexis 428x285

WASHINGTON — The government’s sprawling system of background checks and security clearances is so unreliable it’s virtually impossible to adequately investigate the nearly 5 million Americans who have them and make sure they can be trusted with access to military and sensitive civilian buildings, an Associated Press review found.

Case after case has exposed problems for years, including recent instances when workers the government approved have been implicated in mass shootings, espionage and damaging disclosures of national secrets. In the latest violence, the Navy Yard gunman passed at least two background checks and kept his military security clearance despite serious red flags about violent incidents and psychological problems.

The AP’s review — based on interviews, documents and other data — found the government overwhelmed with the task of investigating the lives of so many prospective employees and federal contractors and then periodically re-examining them.

The system focuses on identifying applicants who could be blackmailed or persuaded to sell national secrets, not commit acts of violence. And it relies on incomplete databases and a network of private vetting companies that earn hundreds of millions of dollars to perform checks but whose investigators are sometimes criminally prosecuted themselves for lying about background interviews that never occurred.

“It’s too many people to keep track of with the resources that they have, and too many people have access to information,” said Mark Riley, a Maryland lawyer who represents people who have been denied clearances or had them revoked.

The Pentagon knows there are problems. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a sweeping review of all military security and employee screening programs. “Something went wrong,” he said.

Separately, Congress has asked the inspector general at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to investigate how a clearance was awarded to Aaron Alexis, the Navy IT contractor who killed 12 people Monday inside a Washington Navy Yard building before he was shot to death by authorities. Just weeks ago, the Navy had warned employees under its new “insider threat” program that all personnel were responsible for reporting suspicious activity that could lead to terrorism, espionage or “kinetic actions” — a military euphemism for violence.

“The clearance piece of this is one, I think, we very clearly have to take another look at,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Navy Yard itself reopened for normal operations on Thursday, but it was hardly business as usual. Returning employees said they felt unsettled. Workers who streamed by the red brick wall of the Navy Yard in the early morning sun said it was too soon to talk about the week’s violence.

FBI Director James Comey said investigators were still working through video evidence, but fresh details of the shootings were emerging.

Comey said Alexis entered the Navy Yard in a vehicle, parked in a deck across from Building 197, entered carrying a bag, went into a fourth-floor bathroom and came out carrying a Remington 870 shotgun. The shotgun was cut down at both ends — the stock sawed off and the barrel sawed off a bit — and ammunition was stowed in a cargo pocket on the outside of his pants.

Almost immediately Alexis started to shoot people on the fourth floor with no discernible pattern, Comey said. Alexis also went down to the lobby, shot a security guard and took the guard’s handgun, continuing his shooting until he was cornered later by a team of officers and killed after a sustained gunfire exchange.

Comey said there was no evidence that Alexis fired shots down into the atrium despite initial accounts from witnesses at the scene.

“It appears to me that he was wandering the halls and hunting for people to shoot,” he said.

Alexis had worked for a Florida-based IT consulting firm called The Experts. He had been refreshing Pentagon computer systems, holding a military security clearance that would have expired five years from now.

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TRUTHstreammedia TRUTHstreammedia

Published on Sep 19, 2013

First reports came that suspected shooter Aaron Alexis had filed a police report on Aug. 7 claiming he was being targeted with microwave weapons and was hearing voices through the walls, ceiling and floor of his hotel room. Then reports came out that Alexis carved “My ELF Weapon” and “Better off this way” into his shotgun before the killings. NOW the BBC is reporting the Containment and Emergency Response Team or CERT team was told to “stand down” when they could have been on scene at the Navy Yard in under 15 minutes after the shootings began. This is bombshell…


Navy Yard: Swat team ‘stood down’ at mass shooting scene

Investigators continue to work the scene at the Navy Yard two days after a gunman killed 12 people on 16 September 2013
On Wednesday, investigators continued to process the scene

One of the first teams of heavily armed police to respond to Monday’s shooting in Washington DC was ordered to stand down by superiors, the BBC can reveal.

A tactical response team of the Capitol Police, a force that guards the US Capitol complex, was told to leave the scene by a supervisor instead of aiding municipal officers.

The Capitol Police department has launched a review into the matter.

Aaron Alexis, 34, killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

“I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say that some lives may have been saved if we were allowed to intervene,” a Capitol Police source familiar with the incident told the BBC.

Assault weapons ready

A former Navy reservist, Alexis was working as a technical contractor for the Navy and had a valid pass and security clearance allowing him entry to the highly secure building in south-east Washington DC.

About 8:15 local time (12:15 GMT), Alexis entered Building 197, headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which builds and maintains ships and submarines for the Navy, and opened fire.

Armed with a shotgun and a pistol he took from a guard he had shot, he sprayed bullets down a hallway and fired from a balcony down on to workers in an atrium.

He fired on police officers who eventually stormed the building, and was later killed in the shootout.

Multiple sources in the Capitol Police department have told the BBC that its highly trained and heavily armed four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (Cert) was near the Navy Yard when the initial report of an active shooter came in about 8:20 local time.

The officers, wearing full tactical gear and armed with HK-416 assault weapons, arrived outside Building 197 a few minutes later, an official with knowledge of the incident told the BBC.

‘A different outcome’

According to a Capitol Police source, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington DC’s main municipal force, told the Capitol Cert officers they were the only police on the site equipped with long guns and requested their help stopping the gunman.

“Odds are it might have had a different outcome”

Jim Konczos Capitol Police Officer

When the Capitol Police team radioed their superiors, they were told by a watch commander to leave the scene, the BBC was told.

The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was reported killed after 09:00.

Several Capitol Police sources who spoke to the BBC asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

Capitol Police Officer Jim Konczos, who leads the officers’ union, said the Cert police train for what are known as active shooter situations and are expert marksmen.

“Odds are it might have had a different outcome,” he said of Monday’s shooting and the decision to order the Cert unit to stand down. “It probably could have been neutralised.”

Capitol Hill Police chief Kim Dine has ordered “a comprehensive, independent review of the facts surrounding the Capitol Police’s response to the Navy Yard shootings”.

The Capitol Police Board responded by establishing what it called a “Fact Review Team”, led by Michael Stenger, a former assistant director of the US Secret Service.

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Navy Yard Shooter Dead After Fatal Incident (LIVE UPDATES)


Washington Navy Yard
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. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Huffington Post  |  Posted: 09/16/2013 12:12 pm EDT  |  Updated: 09/16/2013 12:34 pm EDT

Officials say at least one shooter has died at the Washington Navy Yard, according to the AP. Several people were killed and as many as 10 were wounded during a shooting that began early Monday morning.

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier confirmed that the shooter has been killed during a press conference. She also said one officer was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a shooter.

Please be advised that the Associated Press is further investigating the details in these photos, which show people tending to a person lying on a sidewalk near the area where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. We are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the person’s collapse. We will retransmit the photo with an updated caption when we have more information. (The AP)

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2:22 PM – Today

Senate On Full Lockdown

The Senate sergeant at arms has sent a full lockdown memo to the Senate offices.

The memo is below:

In light of the uncertainty surrounding the shooting at the Navy Yard this morning and particularly the possibility of suspects remaining at large, we have decided to lock down the Senate complex. You may move about the building; however, for the next two hours you may not leave nor can anyone enter the building. This will be in effect until we deem the situation safe in the neighboring community. We do not have any information to suggest the Senate, its Members, or staff are in any danger, but out of an abundance of caution, we feel this is the best course of action to keep everyone safe. This is being done in consultation with Chief Kim Dine, U.S. Capitol Police. Additional information will be shared at 5:00 p.m.

— Sam Stein

2:20 PM – Today

Nationals Game Canceled

The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves will not play tonight, as the stadium is very close to the site of the shooting.

The game has been rescheduled for tomorrow as a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

— Luke Johnson

Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas, has been identified as the shooter at the Navy Yards, three outlets are now reporting.

The identification has come from NBC News, USA Today and CBS News.

The Huffington Post reached out to the police department for confirmation, but officials there were not confirming names as of 3:00 p.m. Monday.

Earlier in the day, NBC News and CBS identified another suspect as the shooter. That report turned out to be wrong and the two news stations retracted their stories.

The Huffington Post will continue to try and independently confirm Alexis’ involvement in the shooting.

Jesse Rodriguez @JesseRodriguez

Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer tells NBC News he has recommended to Senate leadership a “shelter in place” at Capitol

1:55 PM – Today

Stuck In The Food CourtNavy Yard employee Gerritt tweeted a picture of the scene from the Navy Yard food court where he is on lockdown:

Gerritt @Gerritt

Watching the news at the Navy Yard food court. Still locked down. pic.twitter.com/B2PIPcWDqJ

Bret Baier         @BretBaier

Players cleared to go to Nats Park after Navy Yard shootings-game status still unclear- told they can come to the stadium on a certain route

1:48 PM – Today

Police: White Male In Tan Outfit Not A Suspect

DC Police Department         @DCPoliceDept

The white male in the tan outfit has been identified and is not a suspect or person of interest.

Christina Wilkie          @christinawilkie

3 buses head into perimeter of . Shelter in place order on. Unclear if buses for employees. pic.twitter.com/jZlr7rPmJO

1:24 PM – Today

Mitch McConnell Thanks Armed Services, Capitol Police

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) addressed the mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., in a floor speech Monday. A transcript is below:

We’re all thinking about today’s tragic shootings at the Navy Yard, about the victims and their families. The men and women in our military courageously put their lives on the line in many dangerous places around the world. It’s painful for all of us to think about them having to worry about their safety when they come home, too.Many people in the area — and across the country — will be directly affected by this terrible tragedy. We pray for all of them.

These kinds of incidents always remind us how fragile life is. They also remind those of us who work in and around the Capitol how much we owe to all the men and women who work so hard to keep us safe each and every day.

So I want to take this opportunity to thank Terry Gainer and his team, and Chief [Kim] Dine and the entire Capitol Police force, for all they do day in and day out. And for everyone else who is helping work through this tragedy — the first responders and medical personnel, the D.C. police — I want you to know one thing: We are thankful for your hard work and sacrifice.

Everyone is deeply grateful, especially on days like this.

— Sabrina Siddiqui

1:19 PM – Today

Photo: M Street And Half Street

A panoramic photo shows M Street and Half Street SE to the right, and the entrance to the Navy Yard metro station on the left. Fans going to the game tonight would stream out towards the stadium down the street. On the left is a look down towards the police presence outside Navy Yard and DOT headquarters.

1:15 PM – Today

Senate In Recess After Shooting

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Monday the Senate would be in recess in light of the Navy Yard shooting. Votes scheduled for Monday evening were postponed to Tuesday morning. The Nevada Democrat expressed his condolences for victims in remarks on the Senate floor and thanked first responders at the scene.

–Sabrina Siddiqui

1:13 PM – Today

D.C. Mayor: 12 Fatalities

At least 12 people have died in the Navy Yard shootings this morning, Mayor Vincent Gray said during his second press briefing on Monday.

“It doesn’t get much more serious than this,” said a sullen-looking Gray. He added that one officer was injured but that “he’s gonna be fine.”

There was no known motive at this stage, Gray added, and no reason to think it’s a terrorist threat.

“We don’t know for certain whether there are other shooters,” said Gray. “We’re continuing to engage in that investigation.”

12:51 PM – Today

Starbucks Near Navy Yard Is Closed

Some fast food joints are still open by the Navy Yard. Subway is open; Five Guys is open. A few dozen mostly reporters are milling about on the streets. But Starbucks, for one, is not risking anything.


–Jennifer Bendery

HuffPost just asked a Metropolitan Police officer whether, as reports suggest, a manhunt is underway for two more suspects believed to be involved in the Navy Yard shooting. The officer answered “kind of.” He declined to give his name.

Indeed, first responders and police officers were spotted in line at a Subway sandwich shop less than a block from police security tape near New Jersey Avenue, SE. Helicopters still hovered close overhead, but some local businesses were open.

The scene was very different from a 24-hour manhunt this April in Boston for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In that scenario, an entire neighborhood was shut down as heavily armed SWAT teams searched house-to-house.

–Christina Wilkie

12:44 PM – Today

Photo: Nationals Stadium Lot B

A photo from Parking Lot B, taken at 12:12 p.m. Tables are being set up for people to reunite with loved ones.

parking lot b

–Jon Ward

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. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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At least 12 killed in shooting rampage at Washington Navy Yard, chief says

Alex Wong / Getty Images

A man brandishing an assault rifle, shotgun and handgun opened fire Monday inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard. The city police chief said 12 people were killed.

SWAT officers swarmed the building, the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command, and a shooter there was killed, sources told NBC News. Law enforcement officials identified the gunman to NBC News as Aaron Alexis, 34, originally of Fort Worth, Texas. They said he recently began working as a civilian contractor.

Chief Cathy Lanier said there could be as many as two other suspects at large, one white and one black, both seen with firearms and wearing military-style uniforms. But reports conflicted in the chaotic hours after the rampage, and there was no confirmation of more than one person firing shots.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December, and the worst at a military installation since 13 people were killed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.

The number of injured was not clear.

President Barack Obama called it a “cowardly act.” He said the rampage targeted patriots, military and civilian alike, “men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us.”

NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports on the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. and shares the latest information. NBC’s Kasie Hunt also joins the conversation.

Terrie Durham, who works at the Naval Sea Systems Command building, said she saw a gunman who appeared to be wearing dark fatigues. Another worker there, Todd Brundidge, said he heard a fire alarm go off, and later saw the gunman come around the corner.

“He turned our way and started firing, and we ran downstairs to get out of the building,” Brundidge said. “No words. He raised the gun and started firing.”

Jacquelyn Martin / AP
A U.S. Park Police helicopter removes a man in a basket from the Washington Navy Yard, Sept. 16. 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.

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images
Snipers take their positions on the roof of a building at the Navy Yard complex in Washington D.C. where a shooting took place early this morning on Sept. 16.

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Don Andres / via AP

A naval security guard was among those shot and was hit in both legs, U.S. military officials said. Washington city police told WRC, the NBC affiliate in Washington, that one of their officers was also among those shot. It was not clear how many of the others shot were civilian and how many were military.

Patricia Ward, who works at the Navy Yard, said she had just gotten breakfast in the cafeteria when she heard “three gunshots, pow-pow-pow, straight in a row.”

“All of the people that were in the cafeteria, we all panicked, and we were trying to decide which way we were going to run out,” she said. “I just ran.”

Tim Hogan, a spokesman for Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, posted photos to his Twitter account of people tending to at least one person down on a street corner.

Chaos enveloped the surrounding neighborhood for hours. Flights were briefly grounded at Reagan National Airport, and nearby schools and the headquarters of the Department of Transportation were locked down. Farther away, police stepped up security on the Capitol grounds.

Washington police issued lookouts for two people they described as suspects — a 50-year-old black man with a rifle, wearing an olive drab military uniform, and a white man with a pistol, wearing a short-sleeved, khaki uniform and a beret.

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