Share This Page

Navy, VA faulted in Washington Navy Yard shooting

| Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 9:48 p.m.

TAMPA — The family of a woman slain during the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard is seeking $37.5 million from the government, claiming that the Navy and the Department of Veterans Affairs ignored red flags about the killer's deteriorating mental health.

During a news conference on Friday in Tampa, attorneys for the family of Mary DeLorenzo Knight said they are seeking the money in an administrative claim — one of the first steps toward filing a lawsuit. The claim was delivered to both agencies.

Knight was one of 12 people gunned down on Sept. 16 by Aaron Alexis before he was killed in a shootout with police.

The lawsuit said the contractor that Alexis worked for should have told the Navy about his mental-health problems and that the Navy should not have given him security clearance. Navy officials have said they found no record that the company alerted the Navy about his mental health.

Knight, a 51-year-old divorced mother of two adult daughters, was born into a military family and worked as an expert in cybersecurity at the Navy Yard.

Under federal law, the Navy and VA must investigate the claim and determine whether it has merit. If they believe it doesn't, attorneys for Knight's family said they will sue.

A VA spokesman and a Navy spokeswoman said they could not comment.

“The Navy remains committed to providing continued support to the victims and families of this tragic event through our Washington Navy Yard Recovery Task Force,” said Navy spokeswoman Courtney L. Hillson.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.