D.C. mayor: Sequester may have played role in Navy Yard shootings

September 17, 2013

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray (D) on Tuesday suggested that the cuts made by sequestration may have hampered the response to the shootings at the city's Navy Yard on Monday.

"It's hard to know (what could have prevented it)," Gray said on CNN. "We're continuing this investigation. But certainly, as I look at for example sequestration, which is about saving money in the federal government being spent, that we somehow skimped on what would be available for projects like this, and then we put people at risk. Obviously 12 people have paid the ultimate price for whatever -- you know, whatever was done to have this man on the base."

Officials say 12 people were killed, as was the shooter, who has been named as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis.

Gray said the the Navy Yard is a very secure military installation and that Alexis, who reports indicate has been arrested and has a history of mental illness, shouldn't have been allowed access.

"It really is hard to believe that someone with a record as checkered as this man could conceivably get clearance, could get credentials, to be able to get on the base," Gray said. "I just met with the commandant of the Washington Navy Yard last week. We were talking about the security and we know this is one of the most secure facilities in the nation. So how this could happen is beyond belief."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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