Investigators are continuing to look for clues about what led a gunman to kill a dozen people and wound 14 more inside an office building at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. The shooter, identified by the FBI as 34-year-old Navy veteran Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, was killed in a gun battle with police. See below for the latest updates on the investigation, the victims and the situation at the Navy Yard, a secure military base just south of the U.S. Capitol and east of Nationals Park.
All streets and bridges that were closed in the wake of the shootings at the Navy Yard have reopened, according to the District Department of Transportation.
ALERT – All streets near the Navy Yard and bridges are open and back to normal for morning commuters.
— DDOT DC (@DDOTDC) September 17, 2013
Access to the Washington Navy Yard will be restricted on Tuesday to mission essential personnel only as the FBI continues its investigation, according to officials. Offsite work and telecommuting is being strongly encouraged.
Additionally, only the 9th Street gate will be open for pedestrian traffic and no vehicles will be allowed onto the base.
“The Washington Navy Yard is an active crime scene,” Naval District Washington officials said in a Facebook post.
After postponing their Monday night game in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shootings, the Washington Nationals will face off against the Atlanta Braves twice on Tuesday — a makeup game at 1:05 p.m. and the regularly scheduled game at 7:05 p.m.
“All of us here in the Nationals organization were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic events that occurred this morning only a few blocks from Nationals Park,” the Nationals said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”
Outfielder Bryce Harper took to Twitter to express a similar thought: “Thoughts & prayers go out to the victims and responders at the Navy Yard! It is absolute sickening that people do this! #NavyYardShooting“.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will lay a wreath Tuesday morning at the U.S. Navy Memorial to honor victims of Monday’s Navy Yard shooting.
The wreath will be placed adjacent to “The Lone Sailor,” which represents “all people who have ever served, are serving now, or are yet to serve in the United States Navy,” according to a news release.
The wreath laying will take place at 10 a.m. at the memorial, located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
Twelve people, ranging in age from 46 to 73 years old, were killed in the shooting rampage at the Navy Yard on Monday.
Eight of the victims have been identified:
Michael Arnold, 59.
Arthur Daniels, 51.
Sylvia Frasier, 53.
Kathleen Gaarde, 62.
John Roger Johnson, 73.
Frank Kohler, 50.
Vishnu Pandit, 61.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46.
Read more about the victims here.
Most streets around the Navy Yard reopened to traffic Tuesday morning, but one block remains closed.
Third Street between L and M streets in Southeast Washington is closed, D.C. police said. All other streets and bridges are open.
On Tuesday morning the neighborhood around the Navy Yard was quiet.
On Monday morning, all the routine sounds of the morning commute — buses lumbering past, the mechanical ticking and chirping directions of the walk sign for pedestrians to cross M Street SE, the clanging from the big construction project nearby — were drowned out. Sirens wailed, police cars sped past, helicopters thundered overhead.
Even many blocks north on Capitol Hill Monday morning, commuters could sense early that something awful had happened, as cars edged over to let shrieking ambulances through.
But on Tuesday, it was quiet. No helicopters circling, circling. No sirens. M Street was open again, but with only a few employees going to work in the area, neighbors like Marianne Lawrence, who works at a housing nonprofit, marveled at the stillness. Usually the street is busy with cars and the streets packed with commuters rushing to work. But she was out walking her Australian shepherd, Alice, glad to see a construction crew getting back to work, someone clearing trash, someone jogging, a couple of people getting eggs at the Sizzling Express.
“It was eerie,” she said. “When they say ‘shelter in place,’ I didn’t know what that meant. Now I do.”
The crosswalk signal beeped, and she headed across M street, taking Alice for a quiet walk along the river.
— Susan Svrluga
Commander Andrew House, 46, Navy JAG, of Dunkirk, Md., was walking along M street in his tan uniform in the early morning sunshine Tuesday, heading back to work at the Navy Yard.
“I’m kind of anxious to go back,” he said. “It was pretty tough and tense yesterday, especially not knowing how many gunmen there were or where, and I think one of the important things to do is go back and do the work of the Navy — not let one person stop us from doing that. We need to do the work of the Navy.”
He paused, struggling for words for a moment as he thought about the families who had lost someone. “It was a pretty long night thinking about those families,” he said finally, shaking his head.
House was in building 33 and could see and hear nothing but helicopters overhead. As they sheltered there, some of them were escorted by police to safer locations. House had warm praise for local and federal law enforcement for taking charge of the situation, keeping people calm, and keeping them as safe as they could.
The Metro felt empty this morning, and the sidewalks on M Street, usually full of DOT and Navy personnel, were wide open and quiet. “It’s surreal,” House said, looking around.
“If you say one thing,” he said, “say our hopes and prayers are with the families. That’s the most important thing. If there’s anything we can do for them, we’ll do it.”
Then he turned, and walked to work at the Navy Yard.
— Susan Svrluga
One sign of life getting slowly back to normal: The Starbucks on M Street near the Navy Yard had been shut down after the shooting Monday morning and, because of a small roof over the door, served as a shelter from the cold driving rain for a crowd of people, Navy commanders and waitresses from a nearby Thai restaurant and transportation analysts and construction workers all huddled together, frightened and seeking news.
At 8:40 a.m. Tuesday morning, the sun was back, workers were barking orders for tall skim macchiatos, and 38 people were standing in line for coffee.
— Susan Svrluga
In the aftermath of Monday’s shooting at the Navy Yard, there’s still much we don’t know about the shooting, the victims and the suspect.
There are still many key details that remain unclear. We know that the shooting began at 8:15 a.m. in Building 197. Investigators said the gunman shot a security guard at the building and took the guard’s handgun. At least one witness says they saw the gunman shooting at people in the first-floor cafeteria from a fourth-floor overlook. But we don’t know more about where else the suspect may have opened fire. Officials say active shooter teams engaged the suspect several times before at least two officers fatally wounded him, but we don’t know details on these firefights. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier declined to say how many shots were fired.
At least 12 people are dead (not including the shooter) and several others were wounded on Monday. We know the names of eight of the victims killed Monday. Police have not publicly released the identities of the remaining victims, nor have they identified all of the people wounded. We have information about the eight victims confirmed so far here, and we will update that page as we get more information.
Details on Aaron Alexis, named by authorities as the suspected shooter, are beginning to trickle out. He was discharged from the Navy Reserve in January 2011, the year after he was arrested for firing a bullet into his neighbor’s apartment. Alexis was scheduled to start working at the Navy Yard this month. There’s still no word about any motive. The Associated Press reported on Tuesday morning that Alexis had been suffering from mental health issues and had been hearing voices, but we haven’t confirmed that.