I just recently started my journalism class, and so this is one of the first few articles I wrote:
A mass shooting left 13 people dead- including the suspect- Monday at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard base.
The identity of the shooter was Aaron Alexis, a former Navy member and a current defense contractor.
In what was called by chief Cathy Lanier “one of the worst things we’ve seen,” Alexis entered the Navy Yard base with a shotgun, gained access to two handguns, and began to start shooting at people. Navy Yard employee Terrie Durham recalled that “he aimed his gun at us and then he fired at least two or three shots.”
After the arrival of the SWAT team and the police, Alexis was killed by Officer Scott Williams in one of what Chief Lanier described as “multiple engagements” between police shooting teams and Alexis.
Once the shooting was over and the investigation began, details began to emerge. Apparently, Alexis had been recently living in local Washington hotels. He purchased his gun from a gun store in Virginia, and the purchase appeared to have complied with state law.
He was then allowed to enter the base because “of his work as a contractor,” said FBI assistant director Valerie Parlave, and then began his rampage. What disconcerted some, however, was how the base missed Alexis bringing in a shotgun, though he might have concealed it.
The motives behind the shooting remained unclear. His most recent contact with authorities before the shooting was one month ago when he reported to police that an individual who he got into a verbal fight with was sending three “people to follow him” and “keep him awake” by sending vibrations through his body using “some sort of microwave machine.”
Although clear now that he had psychological problems, Alexis at the time stated that he did “not have a history of mental illness in his family and that he has never had any sort of mental episode.”
Besides psychological problems, he also ran into a few troubles with the Navy he was formerly in, having had eight misconducts on duty. “He wasn’t a stellar sailor,” said Rear Adm. Kirby, and because of the misconducts, he was honorably discharged in January 2011.
Personal accounts revealed there were financial problems for Alexis, too; Kristi Suthamtewakul, a friend of Alexis, told CNN that “he wasn’t getting paid on time, he wasn’t getting paid what he was supposed to be getting paid,” referring to his job. Another friend, Michael Ritrovato, also said that Alexis was arguing with his employer often over the pay.
Alexis even thought of “mov[ing] out of America” because he thought “as a veteran, he wasn’t being treated right or fairly,” said Suthamtewakul.
Yet, despite all of Alexis’s problems, friends still saw him as in heart being a “very good-natured guy,” as said by Ritrovato, and described him committing the mass shooting at Navy Yard as “incredible.”
Melinda Down, an acquaintance of Alexis, also expressed disbelief and surprise, saying, “It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Who was this guy?”