Niagara Gazette

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September 16, 2013

Police now say lone gunman killed 12 at Navy yard; motive a mystery

(Continued)

The FBI took charge of the investigation.

At the time of the rampage, Alexis was an information technology employee with a company that was a Defense Department subcontractor, authorities said. Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI's field office in Washington, said he had access to the base as a defense contractor.

The dead ranged in age from 46 to 73, according to the mayor. A number of the victims were civilian employees and contractors, rather than active-duty military personnel, the police chief said.

Alexis had been a full-time Navy reservist from 2007 to early 2011, leaving as a petty officer third class, the Navy said. It did not say why he left. He had been an aviation electrician's mate with a unit in Fort Worth, Texas.

A convert to Buddhism who grew up in New York City, Alexis had had run-ins with the law over shooting incidents in 2004 and 2010 in Fort Worth and Seattle and was portrayed in police reports as seething with anger.

Witnesses on Monday described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people on the main floor, which includes a glass-walled cafeteria. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway.

Patricia Ward, a logistics-management specialist, said she was in the cafeteria getting breakfast.

"It was three gunshots straight in a row — pop, pop, pop. Three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like about a total of seven gunshots, and we just started running," Ward said.

In addition to those killed, eight people were hurt — three of them shot and wounded, according to the mayor. Those wounded were a police officer and two female civilians, authorities said. They were all expected to survive.

The FBI would not give any details on the gunman's weaponry, but witnesses said the man they saw had a long gun — which can mean a rifle or a shotgun.

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