September 19, 2013


Investigators review erratic behavior of Navy yard gunman 


By Eric Tucker / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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A woman hugs a man before entering the Washington Navy Yard as employees return to work Thursday. The Washington Navy Yard returned to nearly normal operations three days after it was the scene of a mass shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people.

The Associated Press

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Alexis had with him during the massacre a handgun he picked up inside the building and a legally obtained Remington 870 Express shotgun.

The shotgun was brought into the building disassembled and pieced together by Alexis once inside, according to a law enforcement official and a senior defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

That firearm would not be covered under a proposed weapons ban supported by the White House. The ban was introduced in the Senate earlier this year and would prohibit 157 specific firearms designed for military and law enforcement use, and it would exempt more than 2,200 others.

The rampage and shootout spanned more than 30 minutes. One District of Columbia police officer was shot and wounded in the legs but survived. The U.S. Capitol Police, which protects members of Congress and Congressional buildings, announced Wednesday that it has ordered an investigation into the force's response. The fact review team is expected to look into reports that one of the force's tactical response teams arrived within minutes of the shootings and was told by a Capitol Police supervisor to stand down. The Navy Yard is less than three miles from the Capitol complex.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said in an email that if the reports are accurate, "It would be an unbearable failure. The Police Board will conduct a review of all facts related to our response."

The shooting also raised questions about the adequacy of background checks for government contractors who have access to sensitive information. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has also ordered two sweeping reviews of military security and employee screening programs, acknowledging Wednesday that "a lot of red flags" may have been missed in the background of the Washington Navy Yard shooter.

"Obviously, there were a lot of red flags," Hagel told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. "Why they didn't get picked, why they didn't get incorporated into the clearance process, what he was doing – those are all legitimate questions that we're going to be dealing with."

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, meanwhile, announced Wednesday night that he wants three rapid reviews completed by Oct. 1, including whether a contracting company should inform the Navy if it decides to review a worker's security clearance.

That order raises questions about whether the company that employed Alexis, the Florida-based IT consulting firm The Experts, had decided to review his clearance. A security clearance often is critical for contractors working in defense jobs.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to attend a memorial service for the shooting victims Sunday.

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