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.