WASHINGTON: A shooting rampage in the heart of a U.S. Navy complex in Washington left at least 13 people dead Monday. One shooter was killed, but police were looking for one other possible gunman wearing a military-style uniform.
President Barack Obama said he is mourning “yet another mass shooting” and called it a “cowardly act.”
Officials said at least four people were wounded – three critically – in the rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, including a law enforcement officer.
Federal law enforcement officials identified the shooter as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old Texas man believed to have a criminal record there and said that he may have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card.
The shooting led to tightened security nearby at the Capitol and White House, including shutting down the Senate. D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier announced the death toll and said people were being told to stay in their homes and out of the area.
Lanier said there was no indication of a possible motive.
The shooter was a Navy employee whose work status had been changed earlier this year, said a federal government official who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak on record. While that may suggest the motive was job related, authorities haven’t ruled out anything, including terrorism, the official said.
Authorities said they were searching for another possible gunman wearing military-style clothing.
Earlier, officials said they were looking for two men, but then said police had established one of them was not a suspect in the shooting. Turn to page 10From page 1Witnesses described a gunman firing down on a cafeteria from an upper floor and a gunman firing at people in a hallway on another floor. It wasn’t clear whether the witnesses were describing the same gunman.
About 3,000 people work at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, which builds, buys and maintains the Navy’s ships, submarines and combat systems.
Todd Brundidge said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said. “He just turned and started firing.”
One person died at George Washington University Hospital of a single gunshot wound to the left temple, said Dr. Babak Sarani, director of trauma and acute care surgery.
Janis Orlowski, chief operating officer of Washington Hospital Center, told reporters the hospital was treating three gunshot victims in critical condition. One was a Washington police officer and two were civilian women. He said the police officer had gunshot wounds to the legs. One woman had a gunshot wound to the shoulder, and the other had gunshot wounds to the head and hand.
Reached by telephone, Aaron Alexis’ father, Algernon Alexis, seemed stunned by the news his son may have been involved.
“This comes as a complete shock,” he said and then asked a Reuters reporter how he could reach authorities leading the investigation. He said his son was former military and now studying while working in a computer-related job for a private company.