September 16 , 2013

D.C. officials said at least 13 people are dead after a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. The U.S. Navy said shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work. 


Alexis had security clearance

Aaron Alexis had been working much of this year as a computer contractor for The Experts, and appeared to have a  government contractor access card that would have allowed him onto the Navy Yard and other military installations, according to the company’s CEO, Thomas Hoshko. He was working as an hourly technical employee on a massive subcontract with Hewlett Packard to refresh computer systems worldwide at Navy and Marine Corps installations.

Alexis had a security clearance that was updated in July, approved by military security service personnel.

“There had to be a thorough investigation,” Hoshko said. “There is nothing that came up in all the searches. “

Alexis had finished a contract with the company in Japan as part of the work and was about to be reassigned to do additional contract work at the Navy Yard.

“Nobody could have done anything to prevent this except Aaron Alexis,” Hoshko said. “Maybe he snapped. I don’t know. It’s just the most unfortunate incident I’ve seen in all my career. “

“Discharge from the military does not automatically disqualify a person from getting a job as a military contractor or a security clearance. It depends on what the circumstances are,” Hoshko said, adding that he and his co-workers are still reeling. Alexis received a general discharge. “Obviously he was well-qualified. This really came out and shocked all of us.”

– Carol D. Leonnig

Why Alexis wasn’t charged in 2010

Why wasn’t Aaron Alexis charged with a crime when he was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas in 2010 for recklessly discharging a firearm?

The Tarrant County District Attorney has explained:

It was determined that Alexis was cleaning a gun in his apartment when it accidentally went off. A bullet entered an apartment upstairs. No one was injured.

After reviewing the facts presented by the police department, it was determined that the elements constituting recklessness under Texas law were not present and a case was not filed.

5:32 pm

Obama gets update from FBI

President Obama has called FBI Director James Comey and gotten an update on the ongoing Navy Yard investigation, the White House said in a statement.

Obama also expressed gratitude for “the quick response of Bureau personnel” and for the close coordination between the FBI, federal agencies and local officials, the White House said.

Where did the shooting occur?

So where exactly did the Navy Yard shooting occur? And when? Our colleagues with The Washington Post graphics department have compiled this visual retelling of the shooting:

Some parents stayed with kids

When the doors to Tyler Elementary School were locked Monday morning in response to the shootings at the nearby Navy Yard, a few parents who had just dropped off their children were also shut inside.

Ivy Estabrooke, who has a 4-year-old daughter at the school on G Street SE, said she was happy to be “caught” along with her 2-year-old in the lockdown that began at about 9 a.m.

“I was incredibly impressed with the seriousness with which the school took the safety of the children — the professionalism of the teachers and the principal and all of the staff,” Estabrooke said.

She is a civilian Navy employee who works in Arlington and lives on Capitol Hill.

Estabrooke said she and her 2-year-old daughter waited out the lockdown in the older daughter’s pre-kindergarten classroom. “Frankly if something was going to happen,” she said, “I would rather be with both of my children.”

There were two other parents and siblings in the classroom during the episode, Estabrooke said. The school found an extra diaper for a visitor when one was needed. It also rustled up some spare lunches– bean burritos, green beans, oranges, milk.

The teacher continued teaching, Estabrooke said. It was a normal day except there was no recess and there were no “specials” – lessons in various subjects typically given to young children in a rotating schedule outside of their regular classroom.

Estabrooke and the other parents left with their children at about 2:45 p.m. when school officials were given approval to dismiss.

5:17 pm 

Witnesses recall firecracker incident

A man threw firecrackers over the north fence of the White House and has been detained by law enforcement officials.

Ruth Anne Arnum, a tourist from Shoreham, N.Y., said she saw the man drive up on a blue bicycle with a blue camouflage backpack and throw a firecracker over the White House fence.

“Somebody screamed, ‘Who threw that!’ and he did it again,” Arnum said. In seconds, three law enforcement officials pounced on the man. Several other officers drew their weapons, she said.

“With all the things that go on these days, it was scary,” she said.

The photo below comes courtesy of Gerard Arnum and captures when uniformed members of the U.S. Secret Service tackled the man who threw firecrackers over the White House fence.


300 more workers leave Navy Yard

The Post’s Aaron Davis reports:

Large police-escorted bus convoys with hundreds of workers continued to leave Navy Yard after 7 p.m. Monday, with several peering out windows at the full city block of television news trucks still amassed behind police lines.

What is the Washington Navy Yard?

So what exactly is the Washington Navy Yard? We tasked The Post’s Steve Vogel — a veteran Pentagon correspondent and military historian — and he delivered.

Some key excerpts:

The historic yard, which includes 2.2 million square feet of office space along the Anacostia River, has undergone a major renovation and expansion over the past 15 years. The Naval Sea Systems Command, which employs some 3,000 workers at the Navy Yard, is the largest of the Navy’s five systems commands and is responsible for designing and engineering ships, shipboard weapons and command systems.

The gates at the Navy Yard are manned by U.S. Marines from the nearby Marine Barracks and personnel from the Naval District Washington Security, including some civilians.

Visitors without military identification must possess a valid reason for entry and show identification to gain access, according to the Navy.

The Navy Yard is also home to the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, which is open to the public. Visitors to the museum are required to show identification, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Tim Comerford, a spokesman for the Navy History and Heritage Command.

In addition to NAVSEA, the Washington Navy Yard is home to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Military Sealift Command, the Office of the Naval Inspector General and the Office of the Judge Advocate General.

Witness recounts shooting in essay

Christopher P. Ryan, a civilian contractor for the U.S. Navy, has penned an essay for The Washington Post recounting what he saw, heard and was thinking during the standoff.

Ryan notes that the facility is “a quiet, small-town alcove in the midst of the city, and it has gorgeous views of the river, a relaxed atmosphere, and a Dunkin’ Donuts just steps from my desk. There are always military personnel around, but, to me, it seems as though the base is mostly civilian — a bunch of lucky professionals in D.C.’s hidden, suburban-like Navy base.”

Navy Yard will be closed Tuesday

The Washington Navy Yard will be closed Tuesday, officials announced, “with the exception of Emergency response and mission essential personnel determined by individual unit commanders.”

“No vehicle traffic is allowed on or off the base until further notice,” a statement posted on Facebook reads. “When vehicle traffic resumes on base additional notification will be released.”

At a 6 p.m. press conference, Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters that an investigation in the area of the Navy Yard continues and inhabitants are being asked to shelter in place.

Firecrackers lit at White House

Secret Service arrest a man for tossing lit firecrackers over the White House fence. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Secret Service arrest a man for tossing lit firecrackers over the White House fence. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Reports of a disturbance at the White House, coming on the heels of the Navy Yard attack, sparked fears of a shooting. In fact, it was a man lighting firecrackers over the fence, according to bystanders.

Those who were watching say a man lit a firecracker over the fence at the White House and then another before law enforcement officials tackled him.

Alexis worked for HP subcontractor

The deceased shooter worked for a subcontractor of technology giant Hewlett-Packard, the company confirmed Monday evening to The Post’s Marjorie Censer.

Michael Thacker, director of corporate media relations for Hewlett-Packard, issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who have been affected. Aaron Alexis was an employee of a company called ‘The Experts,’ a subcontractor to an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network. HP is cooperating fully with law enforcement as requested.”

Alexis ‘a sweet and intelligent guy’

Two staffers for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram knew Aaron Alexis, thenow deceased man behind today’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard, when he was a waiter at a Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Texas.

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