Navy Yard gunman was self-proclaimed Buddhist, mentally unstable, list of victims released
Authorities killed Aaron Alexis after a running gun battle.
It's becoming so routine that many Americans hardly bother to switch the channel to watch the breaking news coverage anymore. Some are asking why flags are at half-staff this morning. Yesterday, another man went on a shooting spree, this time at a naval facility in Washington DC.
Aaron Alexis was a self-professed Buddhist and Naval reservist, with a troubled past. It is unclear how he managed to maintain his security clearance.
The shooting took place at the Washington Navy Yard, a former shipyard and ordinance manufacturing plant in Washington DC. It is the oldest land-based establishment in the U.S. navy.
Currently, it operates as an administrative and headquarters facility.
The shooter, Aaron Alexis was himself a Naval reservist and defense contractor employee. He entered the facility with a valid pass, at least two firearms, and began his shooting spree inside a cafeteria.
His motive for the spree remains unknown and today officials will be combing through his personal property to determine any possible motive and if there were potential warnings of his crime.
According to U.S. law enforcement officials, Alexis had serious mental issues that included paranoia and a sleep disorder. On the basis of this preliminary finding, his possession of a firearm and access to a military facility is now in question. He likely should have been reported as unfit for service.
Reports from the Associated Press and his family say he reported hearing voices. He was reportedly receiving treatment through the Veteran's Administration for his issues.
According to our original source, in 2011 Alexis was given a general discharge from the Navy, as opposed to an honorable one. (Other sources say the discharge was honorable.) His criminal record includes a 2004 gun incident in Seattle, for which he was arrested, but not charged.
It is unlikely that he was connected to an existing terrorist organization. According to those who knew him, he was a practicing Buddhist which makes his deed much more surprising.
Ultimately, it appears that Alexis was mentally unstable and dangerous, and like other in similar cases, had access to firearms which he used to terrorize and murder others.
The weapons he reportedly used were an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol that he acquired from a police officer during the course of the shooting.
Initially, reports were highly confused and investigators put the area on lock down as they searched for additional gunmen. Police managed to shoot and kill Alexis, who was black but continued their hunt for at least one accomplice described as Caucasian. Later, police said that Alexis was the only shooter and lifted the lock down.
Here is the list of deceased victims provided to Catholic Online:
Michael Arnold, 59
Martin Bodrog, 54
Arthur Daniels, 51
Sylvia Frasier, 53
Kathleen Gaarde, 62
John Roger Johnson, 73
Mary Francis Knight, 51
Frank Kohler, 50
Vishnu Pandit, 61
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46
Gerald L. Read, 58
Richard Michael Ridgell, 52
The list of wounded is incomplete.
Of the victims, many were described as hardworking and long-term employees. Most of them lived in the surrounding suburban community. Victims were both men and women, race did not appear to affect their fate. Several were parents, others were loving husbands and wives. Computer techs, federal contractors, and even a handyman worker were all gunned down by Alexis.
Authorities say it took at least two running gun battles to neutralize Alexis.
Wendy Edmonds, sister of Sylvia Frasier called for forgiveness in the wake of her sister's death. She told the media, "No matter how we feel, no matter what information we get from the FBI, we have got to forgive. We have to forgive. We can't become bitter."
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