WASHINGTON — Thirteen people are dead tonight, including the suspect, after a gunman entered the Navy Yard in the nation’s capital, opening fire.
Reports state that the incident occurred at approximately 8:20 this morning, and is considered the worst loss of life in the District of Columbia in over 20 years. Gunfire first broke out at the Naval Sea Systems Command building, which employs approximately 3,000 people.
“Everybody was panicking and trying to decide which way to get out. A few of us just ran out the side exit,” employee Patricia Ward told reporters.
The gunman has been identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a Buddhist who had moved to the area recently from Forth Worth, Texas. Alexis was employed by the military and is stated to have received the National Defense Service medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service medal.
At one time, authorities thought that a second gunman might have been involved in the situation, but at this time, police are simply looking for information on the cause of the crime. Officials at the Navy Yard are seeking as to how Alexis was able to pass security and enter the building.
“It will be interesting to see as this develops … how he got in,” Navy Commander Tim Jirus, who led evacuation efforts, told Reuters. “Right now a lot of people are wondering just how safe the building is or just how safe the office environment is.”
Approximately a dozen others were injured in the shooting in addition to the 13 that perished, including the gunman.