Security Clearance Checks Under Scrutiny After Navy Yard Shootings [GALLERY]

By: Associated Press; CBS Email
By: Associated Press; CBS Email

Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A defense contractor's deadly shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard is raising questions about the adequacy of the background checks done on contract employees who hold security clearances.

Navy and White House security reviews have begun as a picture emerges of the gunman as an agitated and erratic figure whose behavior and mental state had repeatedly come to authorities' attention but didn't seem to affect his security clearance.

Law enforcement officials say they've found no manifesto or other writings that would suggest a political or religious motivation for Aaron Alexis. However, they say he did suffer from serious mental health problems, including paranoia and a sleep disorder.

The Navy says Alexis obtained his security clearance when he enlisted in the Navy reserves in 2007, which was good for 10 years and remained valid after he left the service in 2011. During his time of active service, the Navy says Alexis had incidents of insubordination, disorderly conduct and being absent from work without authorization, but nothing that gave commanders any clue he was capable of such violence.

The 34-year-old shot to death 12 people before being killed by police in a shootout that lasted more than 30 minutes.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The streets around the Washington Navy Yard, the scene of yesterday's shootings that left a gunman and 12 others dead, have been reopened today.

Access to the Navy Yard is being limited to mission-essential personnel.

In addition to the 12 who died, eight others were wounded. All of them are expected to survive.

Authorities continue to learn more about the gunman -- a defense contract employee and former Navy reservist who used a valid pass to get onto the installation and started firing inside a building. He was eventually killed in a gun battle with police.

Law enforcement officials say Aaron Alexis had been suffering from a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. They say he had also been hearing voices in his head. They say he'd been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for his mental problems. But the Navy hadn't declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance he had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.

According to two federal law enforcement officials, Alexis carried three weapons: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun he took from a police officer at the scene. The AR-15 is the same type of rifle that was used in last year's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. It was also used in the shooting at a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people.


Associated Press Release
By ERIC TUCKER, BRETT ZONGKER and LOLITA C. BALDOR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says authorities believe there was only a lone gunman responsible for the Navy Yard shooting rampage that left 13 people dead.

Authorities had earlier said they were searching for a possible second suspect.

Mayor Vincent Gray says the 12 shooting victims range in age from 46 to 73 years old. The gunman, identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, was also killed.

Gray said at a news conference late Monday night that they are still notifying the families of about half of the 12 people who were killed.

The FBI says the gunman used a valid pass to get on to the Navy Yard.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist, was identified by the FBI on Monday as the gunman responsible for a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in which 13 people died, including Alexis. Here are some biographical details on Alexis:

NAME: Aaron Alexis.

AGE: 34 (born May 9, 1979).

HOMETOWN: New York City.

LAST RESIDENCE: Fort Worth, Texas.

OCCUPATION: Worked for The Experts, a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network. Navy reservist from 2007-2011; left as a petty officer 3rd class, stationed in Fort Worth. After discharge, worked as a waiter and delivery driver at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, until May 2013.

EDUCATION: Was pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics via online classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

RELIGION: Converted to Buddhism and was devout, wanting to become an ordained monk, according to friends.

ARREST RECORD: In September 2010, Alexis was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits after a neighbor reported she was nearly shot by a bullet fired from his downstairs apartment. He told police his gun accidentally discharged while he was cleaning it, and no charges were filed. In May 2004, he was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what he later described to detectives as an anger-fueled "blackout."

QUOTE: "I wouldn't call him nice, but he seemed harmless, if really awkward," said Gene Demby of Philadelphia, who said he dated one of Alexis' younger sisters in the early 2000s. "He was insecure. He was like a barbershop conspiracy theorist, the kind of guy who believes he's smarter than everyone else. He also was kind of like perpetually aggrieved, but not megalomaniacal or delusional."


Associated Press Release

By ERIC TUCKER, BRETT ZONGKER and LOLITA C. BALDOR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Navy says a gunman who opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011.

The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It's not immediately clear why he left.

Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.

Alexis was one of 13 people killed during the rampage.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Officials: Washington Navy Yard shooter who died after rampage identified as Aaron Alexis.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A man who works at the Washington Navy Yard says he and some co-workers encountered a gunman this morning in a long third-floor hallway of the building where they work. Todd Brundige says the man "just turned and started firing."

Co-worker Terrie Durham says the gunman fired toward her and Brundige, but that he "aimed high and missed." She says the gunman said nothing.

Rick Mason, who's a civilian working for the U.S. Navy, says a gunman was shooting from a fourth-floor overlook in the hallway outside his office, aiming down at people in the building's cafeteria. He says he could hear the shots, but couldn't see the gunman.

Shortly after the gunfire, he says someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter -- and later, to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward says she was in the cafeteria when the shooting began. She says she heard three gunshots in a row, followed by several more. She says, "We just started running." Security officers were directing people out of the building, with guns drawn.


CBS Washington News Copy
September 16, 2013, 3:30pm

WASHINGTON | As many as 12 people were killed at the Washington Navy Yard on early Monday morning after a gunman opened fire on workers streaming in to start their day, Washington officials said.

The suspected gunman also died in the incident at the Naval Sea Systems Command building. He has been identified as Aaron Alexis, age 34, from Fort Worth, Texas.

A law enforcement official told CBS News' Pat Milton the suspected shooter apparently had a handgun, an AR-15 assault rifle, and a shotgun with him and was wearing dark blue clothing.

"We are confronting yet another mass shooting," President Obama said today during remarks that were intended to address the financial crisis. "And today it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital."

While Alexis' motive is still not clear, officials said he is a former avionics electrician with the U.S. Navy. He had been arrested at least twice previously: once in Seattle for malicious mischief, and once in Fort Worth in 2010 for discharging a firearm in public. He has lived in New York City also.

Alexis was carrying an ID card belonging to Rollie Chance, who was placed on administrative leave last October. Chance told officials he does not know Alexis.

Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said early Monday afternoon they were looking for two other possible gunmen wearing military-style uniforms, although she said this was more out of an abundance of caution than a certainty they were involved in the incident. One of them, a white male in a tan uniform, was cleared. The other is a black male, 40 to 50 years old, wearing an olive, military-style uniform, of medium complexion with graying sideburns. There is no indication of any motive.

Senate officials said late Monday the Senate will be shut down while the second suspect is sought. The Washington Nationals baseball team also announced they would be postponing their game Monday evening.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from the fourth floor, aiming down on people in the first-floor cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.

As witnesses emerged from the building, a helicopter hovered over the building and schools were on lockdown. Less than 2 miles away, security was beefed up at the Capitol, but officials said there was no known threat there.

None of the victims have been identified because families must be notified first.

The Navy said about 3,000 people work in the building. People inside the building have been directed to stay in place.

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said they got their first call about the incident at 8:15 a.m. ET. Police from multiple local and federal agencies responded along with SWAT crews.

The FAA issued a ground stop on all outgoing flights for a short time Monday morning at Reagan National Airport for "security" reasons, and officials confirmed that it was related to the situation in the Navy Yard. Flights were operating as normal at Dulles Airport all morning.

United States Capitol Police said they are "providing mutual support & assistance to the Metropolitan Police Department" in a press release. They said the incident was "contained to the Navy Yard."

President Obama offered his condolences to the victims and their families.

"We will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible," Mr. Obama said.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget.

It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.


CBS Washington News Copy
September 16, 2013, 2:18pm

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — At least one gunman opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and officials said 12 people were killed and several more were wounded, including a law enforcement officer.

Police were looking for two other potential gunmen wearing military-style uniforms — a black male wearing an olive-colored drab carrying, and a white male in a khaki-colored short-sleeved uniform wearing a beret, chief Cathy Lanier said. One had a long gun and the other was also armed, she said. Lanier said she didn’t think the other gunmen were part of the military.

One of the three gunmen had died, though Lanier didn’t say how.

Authorities have identified the dead shooter as a Navy employee whose work status had been changed earlier this year, said a federal government official who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the record. While that may suggest the motive was job related, authorities haven’t ruled out anything including terrorism, the official said.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from the fourth floor, aiming down on people in the first-floor cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It wasn’t clear whether the witnesses on different floors were describing the same gunman.

As witnesses emerged from the building, a helicopter hovered over it, schools were on lockdown and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were briefly grounded so they wouldn’t interfere with law enforcement helicopters. Less than 2 miles away, security was beefed up at the Capitol, but officials said there was no known threat there. President Barack Obama was getting frequent briefings on the shooting.

D.C. police confirmed 12 people had died in the rampage at started around 8:20 a.m. Monday at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building. About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Lanier says one police officer was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a shooter.

Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway of their building on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.

“He just turned and started firing,” Brundidge said.

Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said she also saw the gunman firing toward her and Brundridge.

“He aimed high and missed,” she said. “He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, ‘Get out of the building.’”

Rick Mason, a program management analyst who is a civilian with the U.S. Navy, said a gunman was 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. Mason said he could hear the shots but could not see a gunman.

Shortly after the gunfire, Mason said someone on an overhead speaker told workers to seek shelter and later to head for the gates at the complex.

Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria and heard shots. They sounded like “pop, pop, pop,” she said. After a few seconds, there were more shots.

“Everybody just panicked at first,” she said. “It was just people running, running, running.”

Ward said security officers started directing people out of the building with guns drawn.

Police and federal agents from multiple law enforcement agencies responded. Ambulances were parked outside, streets in the area were closed and departures from Reagan National Airport were temporarily halted for security reasons.

Among the wounded was a D.C. police officer, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter hovered over the building and appeared to drop a basket with a person onto the roof.

The 11th Street Bridge is closed in both directions due to heavy law enforcement presence. M Street is closed near New Jersey Avenue and 11th Street.

Bolling Air Force Base is closed and six D.C. schools are on lockdown. Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Brent Elementary School, Eastern High School, Eliot-Hine Middle School, Jefferson Academy, Tyler Elementary School, and the Van Ness Administration Building are all locked down, school officials say.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy’s five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy’s entire budget. It builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships and submarines and their combat systems.

The Navy says family members looking for information about their loved ones can call 202-433-6151 or 202-433-9713.


CBS News Copy

WASHINGTON | As many as 10 people have been shot at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and at least six of those victims died from their wounds, federal and local officials told CBS News.

The Navy has confirmed that the gunman has died in the incident at the Naval Sea Systems Command building, reports CBS News correspondent David Martin. He is believed to have acted alone.

Officials told CBS News he was a civilian Navy employee who had job issues earlier this year, and he was also a retired Chief Petty Officer. The suspected shooter had been arrested Friday for public intoxication, and had a history of alcohol-related offenses, reports CBS News correspondent John Miller.

A law enforcement official told CBS News' Pat Milton the shooter apparently had a handgun, an AR-15 assault rifle, and a shotgun with him and was wearing dark blue clothing.

An official told CBS News the number of victims could be higher because it is a "chaotic scene." Officials have so far provided limited information on the health of the victims, and none have been identified because families must be notified first.

Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from the fourth floor, aiming down on people in the first-floor cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.

As witnesses emerged from the building, a helicopter hovered over the building and schools were on lockdown. Less than 2 miles away, security was beefed up at the Capitol, but officials said there was no known threat there.

The Navy said about 3,000 people work in the building. People inside the building have been directed to stay in place.

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said they got their first call about the incident at 8:15 a.m. ET. Police from multiple local and federal agencies responded along with SWAT crews.

The FAA issued a ground stop on all outgoing flights for a short time Monday morning at Reagan National Airport for "security" reasons, and officials confirmed that it was related to the situation in the Navy Yard. Flights were operating as normal at Dulles Airport all morning.

United States Capitol Police said they are "providing mutual support & assistance to the Metropolitan Police Department" in a press release. They said the incident was "contained to the Navy Yard."

At an afternoon press conference, President Obama offered his condolences to the victims and their families.

"We will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible," Mr. Obama said.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget.

It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.


CBS News Copy

WASHINGTON | As many as 10 people have been shot at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, and at least three and as many as six of those victims died from their wounds, federal and local officials told CBS News.

A gunman was neutralized, officials said, and security personnel are searching for a second gunman, although there has been no corroboration so far as to whether a second gunman exists.

An official told CBS News the number of victims could be higher because it is a "chaotic scene." Officials have not offered publicly an exact assessment of the health of the victims.

It is also not clear whether neutralized gunman is a member of the Navy.

Police and emergency crews gathered Monday morning outside the heavily-guarded Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where the shooting was reported. To enter the building, visitors and employees must pass several checkpoints, leading to some speculation this may have been a coordinated attack by an insider or multiple insiders.

The Navy said about 3,000 people work in the building. People inside the building have been directed to stay in place.

In a press release, the Navy said the shooting happened at approximately 8:30 a.m. ET. Police from multiple local and federal agencies responded along with SWAT crews.

The FAA issued a ground stop on all outgoing flights for a short time Monday morning at Reagan National Airport for "security" reasons, and officials confirmed that is related to the situation in the Navy Yard. Flights are operating as normal at Dulles Airport.

United States Capitol Police said they are "providing mutual support & assistance to the Metropolitan Police Department" in a press release. They said the incident was "contained to the Navy Yard."

According to USCP, "Additionally, people may notice enhanced security operations being conducted by the USCP on the Capitol Grounds as a proactive, precautionary measure related to the active shooter incident at the Navy Yard."

A White House official told CBS News President Obama has been briefed several times already on the incident, and that he would like "citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site."

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget.

It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.


Associated Press Release
By: ERIC TUCKER and BRETT ZONGKER

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Defense Department official says several people have been killed and as many as 10 have been wounded in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The official also says the shooter is "contained" but not yet in custody.

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.

The exact number of people killed and the conditions of those wounded was not immediately known.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Navy says several people have been injured in a shooting at a building at the Washington Navy Yard. Authorities are still looking for the shooter.

Officials say the shots were fired at around 8:20 this morning at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, where about 3,000 people work.

Police and federal agents are on the scene. Ambulances are parked outside the building, and streets in the area are closed. Flights at Reagan National Airport have been temporarily halted.

A U.S. Park Police helicopter hovered over the building and appeared to drop a basket or a stretcher with a person onto the roof.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget. It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Navy says one person is injured after a shooting at a Navy building in Washington.

Police and emergency crews gathered Monday morning outside the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where the shooting was reported.

The Navy says three shots were fired and that that about 3,000 people work in the building. People inside the building have been directed to stay in place.

Naval Sea Systems Command is the largest of the Navy's five system commands and accounts for a quarter of the Navy's entire budget.

It builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.

Police from multiple local and federal agencies were responding along with SWAT crews.


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