The grief-stricken mother of the Washington Navy Yard gunman who killed a dozen people apologized Wednesday for her son’s actions and said her “heart is broken.”
"I don't know why he did what he did, and I'll never be able to ask him why," Cathleen Alexis said in a statement recorded by CNN
. "Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad."
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She concluded, "To the families of the victims, I'm so, so very sorry this has happened. My heart is broken."
Aaron Alexis, a military contractor and former reservist, is believed to have shot and killed 12 people Monday at the Navy Yard and injured eight others, including a Washington police officer.
So far the motive is unclear, but Alexis, 34, who was killed by police, had a history of mental health problems and misconduct, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
"Obviously when you go back in hindsight and look at all this, there were some red flags — of course there were," Hagel told a news conference, the Chicago Tribune reported
. "And should we have picked them up? Why didn't we? How could we have? All those questions need to be answered."
Police in Newport, R.I., said Alexis called and said he was "hearing voices" while there on recent business.
The historic navy base remains closed except for a handful of essential workers as authorities investigate what sparked the shooting. It is scheduled to reopen Thursday, CNN reported.
Hagel said Wednesday the agency would examine security at bases worldwide as well as review procedures for granting and renewing security clearances.
President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service for the victims at the Navy Yard on Sunday, the White House announced.
Commenters on the CNN article expressed remorse.
Wrote one: “I hope this mother can find peace. She must grieve the loss of her son AND the pain that her child took the lives of so many and caused immeasurable grief. Parents cannot be held accountable for their well-into-adulthood children.”
Wrote another: “I hope his mom knows that our hearts are broken as well.”
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