US Navy Yard massacre: Gunman among 13 dead after rampage at Washington military site

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Two suspected attackers wearing military-style clothing go on rampage

At least thirteen people were killed on Monday in a shooting rampage involving one or two gunmen at a naval building only a few miles from the White House.

Click here to view the gallery

Among the dead on the grounds of the capital’s Navy Yard was a suspected gunman, identified by officials as 34 year old Aaron Alexis, a man from Fort Worth, Texas. Reports said he had been found with three weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and a shotgun. 

Alexis received a general discharge from the Navy Reserve in 2011 after a series of misconduct issues, a Navy official said. The official declined to detail the types of misconduct in Alexis' record.

At least four people were reported to have been wounded in the early morning rampage, the worst mass shooting in the country since the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December. The death toll on Monday night equalled that at the Fort Hood military base in Texas in 2009, although in that incident the gunman, Major Nidal Hasan, was apprehended alive. 

Early in the afternoon, the police raised the possibility that the rampage might have involved as many as three gunman, saying they were searching for two potential suspects. But later one of the potential suspects was identified and cleared of any involvement in the shooting, leaving one outstanding person whom the police were still looking for on Monday night. With a potential suspect at large, the US Senate complex went into lock down in the afternoon. 

Washington DC police chief Cathy Lanier earlier described the possible suspect as an African-American male, about 5-foot-10 and around 50 years of age. He was believed to be dressed in an olive drab military style uniform and armed with what she described as a “long gun.”

President Obama condemned the shooting, labeling it a “cowardly act.” “So we are confronting yet another mass shooting, [and] today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital, affecting both military and civilian personnel,” he said. 

According to the Washington Post, the dead suspect, Aaron Alexis, was a native of Brooklyn who until recently was a resident of Texas and had a Navy or military background. Speaking to the paper, his aunt, Helen Weeks, said: “We haven’t seen him for years. I know he was in the military. He served abroad. I think he was doing some kind of computer work.” Ms Weeks said she had not been contacted by the police. Of Aaron’s suspected involvement, she added: “I’d be shocked if it was him, but I don’t know.”

Aaron Alexis, who the FBI believe to be responsible for the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, is shown in this photo released by the FBI. He was among the dead at the scene Aaron Alexis, who the FBI believe to be responsible for the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, is shown in this photo released by the FBI. He was among the dead at the scene

Meanwhile, a medical official at George Washington University Hospital confirmed that a man in his 60s with a gunshot wound to his head had been pronounced dead upon his arrival from the Yard earlier in the day. “His wound was not survivable,” Dr Babak Sarani, the hospital’s director of trauma and acute surgery, told reporters.

At the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, officials said three victims had been brought to the hospital. All three were in critical condition but “their chances for survival are very good,” according to the hospital’s chief medial officer, Janis Orlowski.

As law enforcement searched for the two other potential shooters, eyewitnesses from the Yard described the rampage. The building at the centre of the rampage is the headquarters of Navy Sea Systems Command (NSSC). In all, about 3,000 people work at the secure facility, known as building 197, including Todd Brundidge. 

An executive assistant with the NSSC, Mr Brundidge told the Associated Press that he and his colleagues encountered a gunman dressed in blue in a hallway on the third floor of building.  “He just turned and started firing,” he said. Later, speaking to a local TV station, he described how people began rushing out of the building. “Everyone was going down the stairs,” he told WJLA. “

People hold their hands to their heads as they are escorted out of the building where a deadly shooting rampage occurred at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington People hold their hands to their heads as they are escorted out of the building where a deadly shooting rampage occurred at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington

“They were pushing. They were shoving. People were falling down. As we came outside, people were climbing the wall trying to get over the wall to get out of the spaces. It was just crazy.”

Over in the the cafeteria, Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist, was getting breakfast when she heard the sound of gunfire. “It was three gunshots straight in a row - pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running,” she said later, speaking to reporters near the Navy Yard. 

Earlier, Navy officials told the Washington Post that, as the rampage unfolded, they had evacuated Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of US Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife from the Navy Yard to the Pentagon. 

As the afternoon unfolded, the Navy issued an “Order to Account” for all uniformed personnel in the District of Columbia metro area, ordering them to check-in with authorities. 

Base shootings: previous attacks

In June 1994, Dean Mellberg, 20, killed four people and wounded 23 at a hospital on Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington state before he was shot dead. The New York Times reported a psychiatrist and a psychologist whose observations had led to Mellberg’s discharge from the air force were among the dead.

Sgt William Kreutzer killed an officer and wounded 18 soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as they took part in physical training in October 1995. Kreutzer was initially sentenced to death, but he was later given a life sentence.

Thirteen people were killed and dozens wounded after Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist, went to a medical facility at the Fort Hood base in Texas and started firing in November 2009. He was sentenced to death last month.

In March this year, Marine Sgt Eusebio Lopez shot and killed two colleagues at an officer candidates school on the Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried