WASHINGTON — The Navy says a gunman who opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011.
The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It's not immediately clear why he left. Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.
Alexis was one of 13 people killed during the rampage.
The FBI took charge of the investigation. The dead gunman was identified as Alexis by two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. One of those officials said Alexis, 34, was from Texas and is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else's identification card. It is not yet clear if that person was an accomplice or if the ID was stolen.
President Barack Obama mourned yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American patriots. Obama promised to make sure "whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."
In addition to the dead, at least three people were wounded.
The area where the rampage took place, known as Building 197, was part of the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which buys, builds and maintains ships, submarines and combat systems. The yard is a labyrinth of buildings protected by armed guards at gates and metal detectors, and employees have to show their IDs to come and go.
About 3,000 people work at the headquarters, many of them civilians.
Witnesses described a gunman opening fire from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming down on people in the cafeteria on the main floor. Others said a gunman fired at them in a third-floor hallway. It was not clear whether the witnesses on different floors were describing the same gunman.
Around midday, police said they were searching for two men who may have taken part in the attack — one carrying a handgun and wearing a tan Navy-style uniform and a beret, the other armed with a long gun and wearing an olive-green uniform. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military.
But later in the day, police said in a tweet that the man in the tan uniform had been identified and was not involved in the shooting.
Page 2 of 2 - It was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included a gunman.
As emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers flooded streets around the complex, a helicopter hovered overhead, nearby schools were locked down and airplanes at nearby Reagan National Airport were grounded so they would not interfere with law-enforcement choppers.
A short distance away, security was beefed up at the Capitol and other federal buildings, but officials said there was no known threat.
Todd Brundidge, an executive assistant with Navy Sea Systems Command, said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a long hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.
"He just turned and started firing," Brundidge said.
Terrie Durham, an executive assistant with the same agency, said she also saw the gunman firing toward her and Brundidge.
"He aimed high and missed," she said. "He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, 'Get out of the building.'"