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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Navy Yard gunman leaves 12 murdered in mass shooting

Gunman Aaron Alexis, 34, shot and killed 12 people and wounded eight last week in Building 197 of the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
To date, Alexis’s motives are still unclear. But investigators intend to focus on his erratic behavior. Leading up to the attack, Alexis reported having issues with paranoia and insomnia to a Veteran Affairs (VA) hospital in Rhode Island twice.
“On both occasions, Mr. Alexis was alert and oriented, and was asked by VA doctors if he was struggling with anxiety or depression, or had thoughts about harming himself or others, which he denied,” according to a statement from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
According to CBS News, Alexis described hearing voices and feeling as though he was being followed. He also reported to police that people were sending “microwave vibrations into his body,” depriving him of sleep.
Alexis, who died in a police shootout following the attack, was a Navy Reservist from 2007 to 2011. During that time, he gained “secret” level security clearance, which allowed him to gain access into the Navy Yard facility. This access, stated a Navy spokesperson, would not expire for 10 years.
After serving in the military, Alexis began working for a Florida-based defense contracting company, The Experts, as an information technology employee.
Alexis was then subcontracted to work for the Navy Yard late last month by helping the military update their computer systems. There, he became familiar with Building 197 and its employees in the weeks before the shooting.
The official incident report states that Alexis used his valid security clearance badge to gain access into the building, toting a bag which investigators believe carried the disassembled shotgun he would use in his rampage.
Surveillance camera footage shows Alexis entering a bathroom where he assembled the weapon and exited. With sawed-off shotgun in hand, Alexis employed tactical maneuvers he learned during his military training.
Eye witness accounts reveal that Alexis did not look for specific victims during the 30-minute ordeal; each shooting was random.
A tactical response team from the U.S. Capitol Police Station, just a few miles away, arrived within minutes of the first 911 call at 8:15 a.m. Within approximately 20 minutes, Alexis was surrounded and killed by responding police officers.
Police later discovered that Alexis inscribed two messages on the sides of his gun: “Better off this way,”and a more cryptic message, “My E.L.F. weapon”. Investigators are still determining the meaning behind Alexis’s messages.
Though Building 197 remains closed during the investigation, the Navy Yard reopened to employees last Thursday three days after the shooting.
“It’s a little surreal I guess,” said Brooke Roberts, an engineer who works in a neighboring building in the Navy Yard, in an interview with CBS News.
“You don’t think this sort of thing can happen to you at your workplace, so you’re just not prepared for it, regardless. […] It’s still not quite normal, and it probably won’t be for some time.”

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Navy Yard gunman leaves 12 murdered in mass shooting