A suspected gunman who killed 12 people and wounded scores of others during a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning had been an aviation electrician in the Navy Reserve, the New York Times reported.
The shooter, Aaron Alexis, 34, who was found amongst the dead, was identified through his fingerprints. The motive for the rampage was not known.
Alexis was currently working as a defense department contractor, but it's not clear if he was assigned at the military base in southeast D.C., the Associated Press reported.
Defense officials say Alexis was working as an information technology contractor, but it was not known which company employed him. As a contractor, he could have had a badge that might have gained him access to the base.
He was found with three weapons, an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol, an official said.
“It’s hard to carry that many guns, so there is some thinking that he may have taken some of them from security or whoever else he shot,” an official said.
Navy records show the former reservist enlisted in May 2007. He left the service in January 2011 with a general discharge after a series of misconduct issues, a Navy official told Reuters, but declined to elaborate.
He received a National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service
Medal. He left as a petty officer 3rd class. His last posting was with the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 46, in Fort Worth, TX.
An FBI release seeking help from the public's in learning more about him, said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound suspect was born in Queens, NY.
“No piece of information is too small,” said Valerie Parlave, the FBI's assistant director of the Washington field office.“We are looking to learn everything we can about his recent movements, his contacts and his associates. We ask the public to look at the photos of the deceased shooter.”
The Washington Post reported that Alexis grew up in Brooklyn with his mother, Sarah, and father, Anthony Alexis, according to his aunt Helen Weeks.
“We haven’t seen him for years,” Weeks said of her nephew in a telephone interview. “I know he was in the military. He served abroad. I think he was doing some kind of computer work.”
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University also said he was an online student pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics. He started classes in July 2012
Alexis may have used the identification badge of another person to gain access to the base.
Federal officials say Alexis was arrested in Fort Worth Sept 5, 2010 for discharging a weapon, but the case was dropped.
The gunman was likely captured on video entering the building before the shooting; it's possible some of the shootings were also recorded on surveillance cameras.
Initially, law enforcement officials believed there were possibly two more gunmen involved.
“We’re continuing to see if there are in fact additional shooters, but we have nothing to indicate that yet,” an official said.
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