D.C. officials said at least 13 people are dead after a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. The U.S. Navy said shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work.
[caption id="attachment_17762" align="aligncenter" width="584"] Mayor Vincent Gray at press briefing. (Mandel Ngan -AFP/Getty Images)[/caption]
"So much was misreported in the first few hours after the shooting rampage at Washington’s Navy Yard," Paul Farhi writes in The Post.
The erroneous reports weren’t concocted. In most cases, they came directly from police sources, and quickly bubbled up through the modern media ecosystem, hopping from law enforcement scanners to Twitter to traditional media reports, all within minutes. Reporters are no better than their sources, and as sources, police scanners aren’t very reliable.
Jim Farley, the news chief at WTOP, tells Farhi that a scanner "is not a source."
"Our main motto is first get it right, then get it fast. We’d rather be slow but accurate. The public doesn’t remember who got what first. It does remember who got something wrong."
Breakfast beckoned in Building 197.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, a civilian utilities foreman at the Navy Yard, didn’t work in that building, his ex-wife, Evelyn Proctor, told The Associated Press. But, she said: “It was a routine thing for him to go there in the morning for breakfast, and unfortunately it happened."
The high school sweethearts had spoken early Monday morning, before he left for work. They talked every day, even after their marriage ended in divorce earlier this year.
"We were still very close. It wasn't a bitter divorce," she said. "We still talked every day, and we lived 10 minutes away from each other."
He was, she said, “a very loving, caring, gentle person.”
After failing to reach her ex-husband by telephone, she drove to the Navy Yard, fearing the worst, according to The Associated Press. She waited about three hours with other people looking for their loved ones and was informed around 8 p.m. that Kenneth Proctor was among the shooter’s victims.
He was 46 years old and loved his boys and his Redskins. He'd been born and raised in Charles County, Md., and was still living there. He’d worked for the federal government for 22 years, his ex-wife said. They’d married in 1994 and had two sons together – both now teenagers. Their youngest, Kendull, is 15. Their eldest, Kenneth Jr., 17, recently enlisted in the Army.
Police confirmed the names and ages of seven victims killed in Monday's attack at the Navy Yard:
Michael Arnold, 59.
Kathleen Gaarde, 62.
John Roger Johnson, 73.
Frank Kohler, 50.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46.
Vishnu Pandit, 61.
The Washington Post's Emily Wax-Thibodeux identified an eighth: Arthur Daniels, 51.
For the past two years, Arthur Daniels — grandfather of nine — had relocated and installed office furniture in federal government buildings around the region. On Monday, he went to work inside the Naval Yard.
He spotted a gunman running down a hallway in Building 197, according to witnesses. He and a colleague ran. They arrived at an elevator and frantically pushed the button.
The gunman shot Daniels in the back, a witness said. ...
Daniels’s son, Arthur Jr., said the family was struggling to “understand why.”
“All he did was go to work,” he said. “That was his only crime.”
We're profiling the lives lost at the Navy Yard on a special page.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="606"] Alexis, who moved from Fort Worth to the District about a month ago, had an arrest record in three states. (Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul/AP)[/caption]
From Tuesday's front-page profile of Aaron Alexis, the man named as the shooter in Monday’s mass killing at Building 197:
Those who knew Alexis in recent years describe him as a “sweet and intelligent guy” (a regular customer at the Thai restaurant where he had been a waiter) and “a good boy” (his landlord), but also as “very aggressive,” someone who seemed as though he might one day kill himself (a lay worker at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshiped). ...
“He’s a 13-year-old stuck in a 34-year-old body,” said Oui Suthamtewakul, owner of the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Tex., and a friend who lived with Alexis for most of the past three years. “He needs attention.”
Patrick Bolton knew his neighbor Kathy Gaarde worked at the Navy Yard, so when the news broke of a mass shooting there Monday, he tried reaching out to her and her family members. Bolton, 31, said he played with Gaarde's son, Christopher, growing up in their neighborhood in the Lake Ridge area of Prince William County, and he remained close with Kathleen, her husband and her daughter, Jessica, who still stayed in her parents' home.
Informed by a reporter that Gaarde, 62, had died, Bolton seemed to fight back tears.
"She just helped make it a good home for her family and worked hard and provided everything her family could need," Bolton said. "They're the kind of people you want to live next door to you."
Bolton said that Kathleen Gaarde was an avid Washington Capitals fan who might have even donated to the team (her name is listed under donors in a 2009-2010 annual report). He said she was a loving wife and mother, raising her two children and a dog in a modest home with a large pool in the back yard.
"The mother was just the kindest lady in the world," Bolton said. "I'm not even exaggerating. I've never seen her do anything but nice things for people."
Bolton said he and his family had tried to reach out to Gaarde when they heard what had happened at the Navy Yard, but their messages were left unreturned. He said he had been sitting glued to the news coverage all day, hoping to hear some good news about his neighbor, who he thought might be close to retirement.
He said he could not fathom why someone would want to hurt her.
"There's no reason she would be targeted," he said.
All day and into the night, they waited for news. Inside a three-bedroom home in Prince George’s County, Sylvia Frasier’s parents and siblings gathered, hoping to hear something about her fate.
The family had not been able to reach Sylvia, a 53-year-old network-security administrator with the Naval Sea Systems Command, since they’d heard about the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.
The Frasiers prayed and watched the news. They clutched their iPhones and clasped each other’s hands every time a cellphone rang or beeped with a text message. Their minister came over, and everyone sat on the couches and sang from the Bible.
By 7 p.m., there still had been no word on the whereabouts of Sylvia, the second-youngest of James and Eloise Frasier’s seven children and a resident of Charles County.
The phone of Wendy Edmonds, 52, the youngest of the siblings, rang again. It was the third-oldest sibling, Lindlee Frasier, calling from the District.
“Okay, Sylvia’s in the hospital. She’s injured. The FBI talked to me,” Lindlee told Edmonds. Authorities said they were trying to figure out which hospital and how badly she was hurt.
Edmonds worried that Sylvia might be more than injured. She tried to prepare her family for the worst.
“No matter how we feel, no matter what information we get from the FBI, we have got to forgive,” she said. “We have to forgive. We can’t become bitter.”
Finally, shortly before 10 p.m., Lindlee and a brother arrived at their parents’ home with news they couldn’t bring themselves to deliver by phone: Sylvia was dead.
“He killed my sister,” Edmonds cried.
A distraught neighbor of Michael Arnold’s in Lorton said he was a “wonderful person and a wonderful neighbor." She was on her way to Arnold’s wife’s house to try to console her.
The neighbor said Arnold, 59, had lived in the neighborhood for at least a dozen years, and was "the best neighbor ever."
-- Martin Weil
A man who answered the phone at the home of Vishnu Pandit, 61, said that the family did not want to be bothered and would not be speaking to the media.
One neighbor, Zhaohua Zhou, said that a steady stream of cars have gathered outside Pandit’s home in North Potomac. “I’m astonished,” Zhou said. “I’m just so sorry.”
Another neighbor, Mike Honig, said that Pandit and his wife have lived in the neighborhood for at least 20 years. He described Pandit as “a very nice man with an Irish setter.” While the neighbors frequently exchanged pleasantries, Honig said he did not know Pandit or his wife well.
“All of the neighbors are doing all they can,” Honig said. “It’s a terrible tragedy… It’s a stain and strain on the nation that we haven’t put public safety laws in place to prevent this sort of tragedy … I’m ashamed and Congress should be, too.”
At least 52 convicted felons have received routine unauthorized access to military installations in recent years, according to a federal watchdog report on security at several U.S. Navy installations set for release in the coming days.
The findings by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General are part of an audit of the Navy's procedures for granting access to bases. The audit reviewed security operations at Navy installations in Virginia and the District, including the Washington Navy Yard, according to a summary of the audit posted in the agency’s August newsletter. The summary does not provide details about the findings, but inspector general probes are typically launched in response to a credible report of lapses or wrongdoing.
Draft copies of the audit were shared with some congressional offices on Monday just hours after the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. A congressional aide who has seen a copy of the draft audit said that the audit mentions that at least 52 convicted felons had access to military installations. The aide declined to share more details on the report pending its release, but said it should become public "in the near future."
Arthur Daniels, 51, is among the deceased. He had worked in the Navy Yard building on and off for more than 19 years, doing various repairs.
Today, he went to work at 6:30 a.m.
His wife, Priscilla, wept as she said she waited all day and was told an hour ago he didn't make it. "I don't know why they shot him. He was a good father and hard worker," she said. Daniels had five children and nine grandchildren.
"We can't understand why," his son, Arthur Junior, said. " All he did was go to work. That was his only crime."
-- Emily Wax