Navy Yard killer shot at random, footage shows
WASHINGTON — Video footage inside Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard shows Aaron Alexis “calmly” walking down the hallways of four floors and stepping into offices, firing indiscriminately at people and reloading from shotgun shells he had stuffed inside the pockets of his black cargo pants.
The footage, disclosed on Thursday by FBI Director James B. Comey in a news briefing, makes clear the 34-year-old civilian contractor on Monday morning was not targeting any individuals but rather was intent on shooting as many people as possible, even shooting a security guard and grabbing his weapon to continue the killing.
Separately, Congress has asked the inspector general at the federal Office of Personnel Management to investigate how a clearance was awarded to Alexis, who killed 12 people inside Building 197 before he was shot and killed by police. Weeks ago, the Navy warned employees under its new “insider threat” program that all personnel were responsible for reporting suspicious activity that could lead to terrorism, espionage or “kinetic actions” — a military euphemism for violence.
“The clearance piece of this is one, I think, we very clearly have to take another look at,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Navy Yard reopened for operations on Thursday, but it was hardly business as usual. Returning employees said they felt unsettled. Workers who streamed by the red brick wall of the Navy Yard in the early morning sun said it was too soon to talk about the violence.
Indeed, Comey said, the rampage went on for at least half an hour until police responding to the base on the capital city's waterfront finally exchanged gunfire with Alexis and cornered him inside, shooting him once he ran out of ammunition.
Alexis was shooting people, Comey said, “in a way with no discernible pattern.”