|US navy base attacker who gunned down 13 was HP tech employee
An American military contractor launched an attack Monday morning inside a building at a US Navy complex in Washington, killing 13 people. (Pictured, employees at naval base evacuate)
The suspect had been working as a defense IT subcontractor for computer giant Hewlett Packard, company officials said.
Aaron Alexis, a former naval reservist, had been employed by a firm working on an HP contract to upgrade equipment used by the US Navy and Marine Corps, HP spokesman Michael Thacker said in an email.
“Aaron Alexis was an employee of a company called 'The Experts,' a subcontractor to an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network,'' he said.
The California-based company said it was “deeply saddened'' by the shooting rampage at the Navy Yard, in which Alexis also lost his life after trading gunfire with police.
Military officers said Alexis had a pattern of "misconduct'' during his four-year service as a naval reservist.
President Barack Obama said he was mourning “yet another mass shooting'' and called it a “cowardly act.''
The Navy Yard attack was the deadliest shooting at a US-based military installation since an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 30 others in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas.
The FBI took charge of the investigation and identified the gunman killed in the attack as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Texas. He died after a running gun battle with police, investigators said. Authorities said he was working in information technology with a company that was a Defense Department contractor but it wasn't clear if he was assigned to the Navy Yard. As a contractor, he could have had a badge that might have gained him access to the base.
The Navy said Alexis was a full-time reservist from 2007 to early 2011 and worked in a fleet logistics support unit in Texas. It was not immediately clear why he left.
Officials said at least three people were critically wounded, including a law enforcement officer. Hospital officials said all three were expected to recover.
Alexis had been arrested in Seattle in 2004 for shooting out the tires of a parked car in what he described as an anger-fueled “black out.'' Two construction workers told police that Aaron Alexis walked out of a home next door on May 6, 2004, pulled a pistol from his waistband and fired three shots into the rear tires of their parked car. Alexis later told police he thought the victims had ``disrespected him.'' Court records show he was released on the condition he not have contact with any of the workers.
The shooting quickly reignited the debate over gun control in the United States, but it was far from certain what the impact would be.
Todd Brundidge said he and other co-workers encountered a gunman in a hallway on the third floor. The gunman was wearing all blue, he said.
“He just turned and started firing,'' Brundidge said.
Terrie Durham added: “He aimed high and missed. He said nothing. As soon as I realized he was shooting, we just said, `Get out of the building.'''--AP/AFP