News & Politics

Police Confident Only One Shooter at Navy Yard; Names of Victims Released

Suspected gunman Aaron Alexis acted alone, officials now say, and the names of the victims killed in the shooting rampage have been released.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said at a late-night press briefing that law enforcement authorities investigating today’s shooting massacre at Washington Navy Yard have exhausted all possible leads about a second person of interest, and that they are comfortable saying that suspected gunman Aaron Alexis acted alone.

Through this evening police had been looking into a person of interest described as a middle-aged black male wearing a drab, olive uniform. But after concluding that the suspected gunman most likely carried out the rampage himself, police have lifted the “shelter in place” order around Navy Yard.

Thirteen people, including Alexis, were killed Monday after he allegedly opened fire inside a 3,000-employee building that houses one of the Navy’s biggest command units. Alexis was killed in a firefight with police responding to the mayhem. At tonight’s briefing, police identified seven of the 12 people gunned down. All the victims were civilians, authorities said.
The victims who have been named so far 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. At least one of the deceased is a DC resident, officials said.
The DC police officer who was wounded was identified as Officer Scott Williams, a 24-year-old MPD veteran assigned to a K-9 unite. Williams was wounded in both legs while responding to the scene at Navy Yard. He was transported by helicopter to Washington Hospital Center, where he is recovering from surgery and has since been joined by his family. Lanier and DC Mayor Vince Gray also paid him a visit.
Seven others were injured at Navy Yard. Two were shot, the other five were injured in the aftermath.
Although residents of Southeast DC will start to see life return to normal as streets reopen and lockdown conditions are lifted, the area around Navy Yard is still very hectic. Even late in the evening, officials were still evacuating the military installation, busing workers to offsite staging facilities near Nationals Park where they could be reunited with their families.
As for the suspected shooter, Alexis, a former Navy reservist, was employed by The Experts Inc., an information technology firm that is a subcontractor to Hewlett-Packard on a Pentagon contract to develop the intranet used by the Navy and Marine Corps. FBI Assistant Director Valerie Parlave said that Alexis had “legitimate access” to Navy Yard facilities as a contractor.
While the motive behind today’s shooting remains unknown, details of Alexis’s life that have emerged so far are unsettling. He was arrested in 2004 in Seattle after an “anger-fueled blackout” during which he shot out the tires of another individual’s car. He was investigated but not charged for discharging a handgun inside a Fort Worth, Texas apartment building in 2010.
NBC News reports that a shotgun used in the Navy Yard shooting was purchased last week at a gun shop in Lorton, Virginia.
UPDATE, 9/17/13: Police released the name of the rest of the victims on Tuesday morning. The others killed yesterday are Arthur Daniels, 51, of Southeast DC; Mary Francis Knight, 51, of Reston, Virginia; Gerald L. Read, 58, of Alexandria; Martin Bodrog, 54, of Annandale, Virginia; and Michael Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, Maryland.
Daniels, according to witnesses, was shot in the back while running from the gunfire. Daniels’ widow, Priscilla, sobbed while remembering her husband last night in an interview with WTTG-TV.
“That man didn’t have to shoot my husband, I love my husband,” Priscilla Daniels said last night.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.