The FBI has released footage of Aaron Alexis, the contractor and former Navy reservist who went on a shooting spree at Washington’s Navy Yard last week, that shows him roaming the halls of Building 197 armed with a shotgun. The bureau also released a slew of new details about Alexis that appear to confirm he was suffering from severe mental illness just prior to the shooting.
The video, which also shows Alexis arriving at the Navy Yard and entering the building, makes for chilling viewing and can be seen here:
In addition to the footage, the FBI also revealed preliminary findings from the investigation into why Alexis carried out the attack. According to the FBI, Alexis believed that he was being controlled by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves and that carrying out the shooting represented a way out for him. “Ultra low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this,” Alexis wrote in a document that the FBI says it retrieved from his “electronic media.” As previously reported, Alexis had etched the words “My ELF weapon!”on the side of his shotgun, which is believed to be a reference to these electromagnetic waves. The FBI also released images of the gun, including close-ups of the etching:
Alexis also scratched the phrase “end to the torment!” on the gun’s barrel:
Investigators also released a timeline of the shooting that indicates it took just over an hour for law enforcement to shoot and kill Alexis after he began opening fire on the occupants of building 197:
- 7:53 a.m. – Alexis’ rental car, a blue Toyota Prius with New York plates, entered Parking Garage #28 at the Washington Navy Yard, located directly across from Building #197.
- 8:08 a.m. – Alexis exited Parking Garage #28 on foot carrying a backpack. Alexis entered Building #197 and proceeded to the elevator.
- 8:09 a.m. – Alexis exited the elevator on the fourth floor and entered the men’s bathroom carrying a backpack and a clipboard.
- 8:15 a.m. – Alexis crossed the hallway into the 4 West area of Building #197 with shotgun, but without the backpack or a clipboard.
- 8:16 a.m. – Alexis shot the first victim in the 4 West area of Building #197.
- 8:17 a.m. – First 911 call is received from the fourth floor of Building #197.
- 8:20 a.m. – Alexis left the fourth floor using the stairs and entered the third floor.
- 8:28 a.m. – Alexis appeared on the first floor.
- 8:57 a.m. – Alexis returned to the third floor.
- 9:25 a.m. – Law enforcement shoot and kill Alexis on the third floor.
The timeline of the shooting, together with the surveillance footage, raises questions about why it took police so long to reach Alexis. Note that the FBI’s timeline does not provide any information on exactly when Alexis shot his other victims — information that, if provided, would help determine whether a speedier police response could have saved lives. In its statement, the FBI does not specify whether the surveillance cameras from which the footage is drawn were being actively monitored.
Nonetheless, the FBI believes that Alexis acted alone and that he was not targeting specific individuals.
A loss of confidence: HP fires The Experts; Vickers, Olson lead shooting panels; Hagel lunches with Bloomberg; JSF: hundreds of deficiencies; Amos, taking names; Josh Rogin, not laughing; and a bit more.Gordon Lubold
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.| Situation Report |
Yochi Dreazen is a Managing Editor for News at Foreign Policy. He is also writer-in-residence at the Center for a New American Security. His book about military suicide was published by Random House's Crown division in 2014.
Prior to joining Foreign Policy, Dreazen was a contributing editor at the Atlantic and the senior national security correspondent for National Journal. He began his career at the Wall Street Journal and spent 11 years at the newspaper, most recently as its military correspondent. He was born in Chicago, and later attended the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he edited the award-winning daily campus newspaper and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1999 with degrees in History and English. He was hired by the Wall Street Journal immediately after graduation. Dreazen arrived in Iraq in April 2003 with the Fourth Infantry Division, and spent the next two years living in Baghdad as the Wall Street Journal's main Iraq correspondent.
Dreazen has made more than 12 lengthy trips to Iraq and Afghanistan and has spent a total of nearly four years on the ground in the two countries, mostly doing front-line combat embeds. He has reported from more than 20 countries, including Pakistan, Russia, China, Israel, Japan, Turkey, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.
In 2010, Dreazen received the Military Reporters & Editors association’s top award for domestic military reporting in a large publication for a series of articles about military suicide and the psychological traumas impacting veterans of the two long wars. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Smithsonian, Tablet and the New Republic and he appears regularly on TV and radio programs such as NPR's Diane Rehm Show and PBS' Washington Week with Gwen Ifill. Dreazen gives frequent lectures about journalism, the wars and current events to both civilian and military audiences.
Dreazen lives in Washington with his wife, Annie Rosenzweig Dreazen, and their beloved Golden Retriever, Charlie.| Passport |