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Tragedy at the Navy Yard

The District’s first responders gather Monday morning near the Navy Yard. (Matt McClain / The Washington Post)

To the dismal list topped by Virginia, Newtown, Fort Hood and Columbine, we now add Navy Yard. The District of Columbia’s worst day since at least June 2009, when two Red Line trains collided near Fort Totten, saw 12 people shot to death by a gunman identified by police as  — Aaron Alexis, a former Navy enlistee turned contractor who had roots in Brooklyn and Texas — who was then killed by authorities. For all the sensitivity and significance of the historic military installation, the Navy Yard killings carry the hallmarks of a workplace shooting rather than a terror attack. The killing began around 8:15 a.m., as workers began settling into their workday. Twenty-four hours later, big questions are unanswered: Why did Alexis shoot? Where did he get his guns? How did he get past armed guards at the base perimeter? But we also know the city’s first responders, amid a period of great controversy, performed admirably in responding to the feared “active shooter” scenario and handling the aftermath of another tragic mass casualty incident.

In other news:

It was the worst loss of life within the District’s borders since the 1982 Air Florida crash (Post)

A D.C. cop, canine officer Scott Williams, was wounded in the attack (Post)

Some D.C. schools were locked down during and after the attack, including nearby Tyler Elementary (Post)

Did you know: The Navy Yard was bombed twice in the ’80s (Crime Stories)

Tommy Wells musters some national media exposure (CNN)

“Now, another massacre, another roster of funerals. Again, again, again.” (Post editorial)

Petula Dvorak: “Mass shootings are becoming as American as apple pie and baseball” (Post)


Chances for council override of living-wage veto dwindle, but, hey, anything could happen (PostDCistLoose LipsWAMU-FMAP)

David Catania has a minimum-wage-hike bill of his own (WBJDCist)

Disciplinary panel votes unanimously to recommend censure, loss of committee chair for Marion Barry (PostDCistLoose Lips)

So who tweeted Barry’s critical comments? (Loose Lips)

Steve Cordi continues to insist tax sale threshold was instituted to protect homeowners (Housing Complex)

OTR officially responds to tax lien series, says policy is to “administer the city’s tax laws as humanely as possible within the constraints of law” (Post letter)

Kenyan McDuffie bill would require public schools to report sports equity data for first time (Post)

Barry and Phil Mendelson back new sick leave expansion bill (Post)

Meet the first couple married in the new expanded Superior Court wedding chapel (Post)

The day of Dr. Janis Orlowski’s national star turn was also the day she announced her retirement (WBJ)

“Will DC’s future include the poor?” (GGW)

Fenty nonprofit belatedly files report, but “there remains virtually no information about what the nonprofit does” (WBJ)

WAMU-FM’s “Deals for Developers” series is a finalist for prestigious journalism award (ONA)

Shakeup at WPFW as controversial general manager is ousted (City Desk)

A peek inside Uber boss Travis Kalanick’s media strategy (Valleywag)

Stand up and be counted, panda haters (Post column)

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



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Mike DeBonis · September 16, 2013

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