During the latest Navy Yard shooting update, Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge, F.B.I. Washington Field Office, briefed the media on Sept. 17, 2013, and stated that the investigation into the deadly shooting has moved into evidence recovery and information mode. The F.B.I. believes the alleged gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34, acted alone and as authorities are no longer searching for additional perpetrators, they are focusing on gathering information.
Parlave stated, “As such, with no other suspects at large, the investigation has moved into a phase of evidence recovery and information gathering.”
Continuing, Parlave provided an update on the fatalities. She stated, “ We have confirmed 13 fatalities, to include the shooter, all of whom have been positively identified.”
Of the victims, 7 names have been released to the public. They are Michael Arnold, 59, Sylvia Frasier, 53, Kathy Gaarde, 62, John Roger Johnson, 73, Frank Kohler, 50, Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46 and Vishnu Pandit, 61. After speaking about the fatalities, Parlave discussed the current scene at the Navy Yard.
“Our evidence response teams remain at the Navy Yard and continue to process the scenes. As I mentioned last night, this is a methodical and time and tested process that includes bullet trajectory and crime scene mapping and with the assistance of our evidence response personnel from our Baltimore and Richmond field offices, we will remain there for as long as necessary, to carefully process each shooting site.”
You may see a photo slideshow to the left that shows activity at the Navy Yard Tuesday morning, Sept. 17, 2013.
The solo suspect and alleged gunman has been identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. More information is shedding light on Alexis’ troubled past. A Navy veteran and reservist, Alexis has been in trouble, but managed to leave the reserves with an honorable discharge. Though he had several incidents, including an arrest for shooting the tires of a construction worker’s vehicle in 2004, he passed through several military clearance and background checks. Alexis worked as a subcontractor for an IT company called “The Experts” a division of Hewlett-Packard. He was to work on Navy Corps computers. It appears that with the security clearance he obtained, he had legal access to the Navy Yard. How he managed to bypass security with weapons is another aspect to this terrible tragedy that must be addressed.
As media and investigators continue to speak with Alexis’ friends and family members, a picture of the gunman slowly emerges. It is said that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), had first hand involvement with September 11, 2001 victims, and was heavily interested in both Buddhism and violent video games. He purchased a weapon legally in Virginia prior to the shootings.
Continuing, Parlave spoke about Alexis, “In regards to the weapons used by Mr. Alexis, there’s been a lot of information circulating in the media over the past day. Once again, we caution against obtaining information from unofficial sources, and we ask all inquiries be directed to the F.B.I. At this time we believe that Mr. Alexis entered building 197 at the Navy Yard with a shotgun. We do not have any information at this time that he has an AR-15 in his possession. We also believe Mr. Alexis may have gained access to a handgun, once inside the facility and after he began shooting.
“As previously mentioned, Mr. Alexis had legitimate access to the Navy Yard as a result of his work as a contractor, and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to the building.”
As more details unfold, it seems clear that there was a security breakdown at the Navy Yard, and that someone with Alexis’ history never should have obtained security clearance for the Navy Yard.
You may see a video report in the player to the left.