Former resident locked down in D.C.
BRYANS?ROAD, Md. – The deadly shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday affected hundreds of employees at the facility to one degree or another, including a former Copper Country resident.
Bob Russell, a civilian employee working for the operations department at the Navy Yard, said when Aaron Alexis started shooting at about 8:20 a.m., he was able to hear it from where he was.
“We passed the information along there was a shooter,” he said.
Before he was stopped, Alexis killed 12 people, and was shot and killed by police.
Russell said he and his coworkers were told to move to a nearby building and “shelter in place.” They were in that building from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., when employees were allowed to leave the facility.
“It was a long, tedious process,” he said.
Exactly where Alexis was during that time was uncertain to him, initially, Russell said.
“I couldn’t tell,” he said.
However, Russell said he did learn subsequently Alexis was only three buildings away.
Russell said he learned the Navy Yard police were on-site at the shooting very quickly, and the Washington, D.C. police arrived about seven minutes after receiving the 911 call.
Russell’s wife Deborah is from Hurontown and from 2000 to 2002 after retiring from the Navy, the couple lived in Laurium.
Alexis, a 34-year-old information technology employee with a defense contractor, used a valid pass to get into the highly secured installation Monday morning and started firing inside a building, the FBI said. He was killed in a gun battle with police.
The motive for the mass shooting – the deadliest on a military installation in the U.S. since the attack at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 – was a mystery, investigators said.
U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press there was no known connection to terrorism and that investigators have found no manifesto or other writings suggesting a political or religious motive.
Alexis had been suffering a host of serious mental problems, including paranoia and a sleep disorder, and had been hearing voices in his head, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation was still going on.
He had been treated since August by Veterans Affairs, the officials said.
The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded a security clearance Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.
Although the shooting incident took hours to resolve, Russell said law enforcement personnel did a good job handling the situation.
“I felt there was an appropriate response,” he said.