UPDATE: Wednesday, 4:15 p.m. A Veterans Affairs memorandum, delivered today to congressional committees, reveals that Aaron Alexis told medical workers that he was not depressed or considering harming himself or others. He never sought an appointment with mental health specialists and cancelled or failed to appear for primary care appointments.
However, he did seek treatment for insomnia. During a visit to the VA Medical Center in Providence, Virginia, he received a small amount of sleep medication and was instructed to followup with a primary care provider. He appeared at the emergency room at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to request a refill of said medication.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 2:58 p.m. A Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider says that the agency is looking into whether or not one of the agency’s tactical response teams was ordered to stand down despite being early on the scene.
BBC previously reported that sources said the four-man group, a Containment and Emergency Response Team, was told to stand down.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 2:49 p.m. USA Today reports that Navy officials in at the Newport, R.I., base ignored warnings from local police about accused Aaron Alexis. Newport police contacted the base after questioning Alexis at a local hotel where he said he heard voices, but “there is no indication that the information went beyond the naval security force.”
UPDATE: Wednesday, 1:45 p.m. According to the Pentagon, Aaron Alexis’ security clearance dates to 2008, shortly after he joined the Navy Reserve, and he had not been required to renew it. Clearances remain valid for two years after members of the military leave their service and Alexis left the Navy Reserve in 2011.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 12:25 p.m. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said during a press conference that those who have served in the military shouldn’t be stigmatized over having to answer questions about their mental health status on security clearance forms.
He also expressed doubt that questions about mental health on an application form would have revealed the issues that Aaron Alexis, the suspected shooter, was undergoing. Alexis was reportedly hearing voices and suffered from paranoia and sleep disorder.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 12:15 p.m. Aaron Alexis carved two bizarre phrases into the stock of his shotgun before the shooting at the Navy Yard: ”Better off this way” and “My ELF weapon.” Officials say they do not know the meaning of the phrases.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. Aaron Alexis’ mother has released a statement apologizing to the victims in the Navy Yard shooting.
Cathleen Alexis said that her son’s actions “have had a profound and everlasting effect on the families of the victims. I don’t know why he did what he did, and I’ll never be able to ask him, why.”
“Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad,” she said. “To the families of the victims, I am so, so very sorry that this has happened. My heart is broken.”
UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. Aaron Alexis is believed to have assembled the shotgun in a men’s bathroom after passing through a security checkpoint with his contractor ID.
UPDATE: 4:10 p.m. The Rhode Island police contacted Newport Naval station last month to warn them about Aaron Alexis.
According to his employer, The Experts, an information technology company, a pair of background checks over the last year only turned up a traffic violation.
UPDATE: 2:55 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) says that there are not currently enough votes to pass restrictions on guns.
UPDATE: 2:23 p.m. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a worldwide review of the security of U.S. military installations in the wake of the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., according to a CNN report.
UPDATE: 2:11 p.m. At a press conference this afternoon, an FBI official confirmed that accused shooter Aaron Alexis acted alone and did not use an AR-15 in yesterday’s Navy Yard shooting. The official also stated that Alexis arrived in Washington, D.C. from Fort Worth on August 25 and had been living in hotels since his arrival.
UPDATE: 10:11 a.m. A handful of gun-control proponents have renew their campaign against the AR-15, such as New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica and CNN’s Piers Morgan, since yesterday’s shooting. But Morgan’s network colleague Pamela Brown reports that the Washington’s FBI office says Alexis did not use an AR-15.
FBI Washington field office just confirmed gunman was NOT armed with AR15. Spokesperson says 1 shotgun and 2 pistols recovered— Pamela Brown (@PamelaBrownCNN) September 17, 2013
TUESDAY UPDATE: Overnight Military records on Aaron Alexis indicate a “pattern of misconduct” within the military. Not only was Alexis disgruntled with the military regarding payment for a contract trip, he made statements to a friend that he “wanted to move out of America.”
Aaron Alexis reportedly had “mental issues that he sought help for from the VA a number of times,” according to John Miller, former FBI assistant director. “He said he was hearing voices, he was detached from reality at certain points. He had sought treatment a number of times at a number of places and he was also frustrated there. He claimed he wasn’t getting his full VA benefits,” Miller said. According to an AP report, Alexis had been “suffering from a host of mental problems including paranoia and sleep disorder, and had been hearing voices in his head.”
UPDATE: 7:05 p.m Hewlett-Packard has confirmed that Aaron Alexis, the suspected shooter, worked for a subcontractor.
UPDATE: 6:55 p.m Despite initial fears, there has been no shooting at the White House. The Secret Service has apprehended an individual who allegedly tossed firecrackers over the fence.
UPDATE: 6:30 p.m A friend in D.C. sends a picture of the current scene outside of the Navy Yard, saying that nobody is allowed past M Street.
UPDATE: 6:20 p.m Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), has called for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting at the Navy Yard.
“This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons—including a military-style assault rifle—and kill many people in a short amount of time,” Feinstein said in a statement. “When will enough be enough? ”
UPDATE: 6:02 p.m Aaron Alexis was apparently discharged from the Navy in 2011 after multiple disciplinary infractions according to a Navy officer.
UPDATE: 5:50 p.m According to the Seattle Police Department, Aaron Alexis, the suspected shooter, was arrested in 2004 for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle. Alexis apparently described the incident to Seattle PD detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout.”
Alexis’ father, who lived in New York, told detectives that his son was in New York City during the 9/11 attacks a few years earlier and had actively participated in rescue attempts. His father also claimed that he suffered anger management problems associated with post traumatic stress disorder.
UPDATE: 5:40 p.m. Ed Henry of Fox News tweeted that the White House has canceled tonight’s Musica Latina event.
Just in: Hearing tonight’s Latin Music festival at WH has now been cancelled bc of #NavyYardShooting— Ed Henry (@edhenryTV) September 16, 2013
UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. In a video by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, two of the newspaper’s employees recount that suspected shooter Aaron Alexis waited on them several times at a local Thai restaurant. A copy editor recalled that Alexis “stayed in Thailand for a long time” within the past six months.
She described Alexis as “a sweet and intelligent guy,” the editor recounted. Alexis apparently owned a gun, but a friend and coworker told the newspaper that he can’t imagine Alexis having done something like this.
UPDATE: 4:22 p.m. Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray confirmed that there are 13 total fatalities from this morning’s shooting, including the gunman. He also said authorities do not suspect the shooting was an act of terrorism, but have not ruled it out.
UPDATE: 4:15 p.m. Rear Admiral John Kirby has confirmed that Aaron Alexis was the shooting suspect. He in the Navy served as an aviation electrician’s mate from 2007-2011.
UPDATE: 3:50 p.m. A man matching Aaron Alexis’ name and description was arrested in 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas for discharging his firearm within city limits. A mugshot that accompanies those charges, taken from Mediaite, is shown below.
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. The Washington Nationals have announced they will postpone their game against the Atlanta Braves tonight. Nationals Park is a few blocks from the incident.
Tonite’s #Nationals-Braves game has been postponed and will be made up as split doubleheader (1:05 p/7:05p) on Tue., Sept. 17.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 16, 2013
The teams will play a doubleheader tomorrow.
UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. According to police, a second man in a tan uniform, originally thought to be a possible second shooter, was not involved in the incident.
The Senate Complex has also been put on precautionary lock down for the next two hours.
UPDATE: 2:43 p.m. Pete Williams of NBC reports the dead shooter is 34 year-old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas. Alexis, who stole an employee’s ID in order to get into the building, was a civilian contractor.
UPDATE: 2:33 p.m. “I hope we all understand with all these guns loose in the society, it doesn’t take a terrorist to do what was done here today,” Washington, D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton told reporters on the scene.
UPDATE: 2:13 p.m. The Senate has adjourned until tomorrow morning due to the shooting. Capitol Hill is about a mile from the Navy Yard.
UPDATE: 2:11 p.m. MPD department chief Lanier confirmed that there are at least 12 fatalities. She said that authorities still believe there may be two suspects at large.
UPDATE: 2:00 p.m. NBC’s Pete Williams said on MSNBC just now that based on the “best information we’ve got,” the shooter who is now dead used an employee’s ID in order to get into the building. The ID was found near the dead gunman and led to sources misreporting the gunman’s name as that of the employee’s.
Williams said it is unclear whether or not the employee was at all involved in the shooting. He has been taken into custody and is being questioned by police.
UPDATE: 12:56 p.m. “We are confronting yet another mass shooting,” President Obama said before beginning his speech on the five-year anniversary of the financial collapse. He offered support for federal and local authorities, and asked Americans to keep the victims and the victims’ families in their thoughts and prayers.
“We’re going to be investigating thoroughly what happened as we do so many of these shootings, sadly, that have happened, and do everything that we can to prevent them,” the president said.
UPDATE: 12:15 p.m. Metropolitan Police Department chief Cathy Lanier told reporters at a press conference just now that there may be an additional two gunmen involved in this morning’s shooting. She said the reports are “unconfirmed” but that authorities are still investigating.
UPDATE: 11:50 a.m. NBC News’ Pete Williams still has not confirmed that there is a second shooter involved. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that a shooter at the Navy Yard is dead.
UPDATE: 11:18 a.m. WJLA reports that two sources have confirmed that the death toll has risen to eight.
UPDATE: 11:12 a.m. Tactical teams have entered the second building at Navy Yard according to NBC.
UPDATE: 11:09 a.m. WUSA-9 tweets:
UPDATE: 11:04 a.m. According to the Associated Press, a shooter has been “contained” but is not yet in custody.
UPDATE: 10:39 a.m. Via BuzzFeed, Russia’s parliamentary foreign affairs chief tweeted that today’s shooting shows the United States “should part with the notion of American exceptionalism.”
The USA should part with the notion of American exceptionalism. It contradicts the principles of equal rights and smells of political racism— Алексей Пушков (@Alexey_Pushkov) September 16, 2013
UPDATE: 10:32 a.m. The Washington Post reports that four have been killed in the shooting with another eight injured.
UPDATE: 10:17 a.m. From a Washington resident currently in lockdown near the Navy yard: An eyewitness, now in a police vehicle near the scene, said his supervisor went to go see what was happening, and watched on the security cameras as the supervisor was shot in the alley between the buildings. He might have been the one airlifted out by the helicopter.
UPDATE: 9:46 a.m. The local ABC news affiliate reports that the at-large suspect has multiple guns. Meanwhile, NBC’s Pete Williams reports that two of the seven apparent victims of the shooting are police officers.
Metropolitan Police have also released a description of the shooter:
JUST IN: MPD officials have described the #NavyYardShooting suspect as an adult black male, medium complexion, bald, 6-feet tall.— Jummy (@JummyTV) September 16, 2013
Several sources are reporting an active shooter at the Washington Navy Yard. The area is now on lockdown. Three shots were fired at around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where there are 3,000 employees. According to the Washington Post, police are searching for the shooter. At least one person has been confirmed shot, but there are reports of others.