Published : 2013-09-18 10:36
Updated : 2013-09-18 10:42
The gunman who killed 12 people before being shot dead by police in a military complex in the heart of Washington is being described as a young man with an interest in Buddhism and flashes of rage. Officials on Tuesday said he had serious mental issues but was not stripped of his security clearance.
Aaron Alexis is shown in this undated handout photograph provided by Kristi Suthamtewakul, wife of "Happy Bowl" Thai restaurant owner Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, who were best friends with Alexis when he lived in White Settlement, Texas. Reuters-Yonhap News
Aaron Alexis' motive in Monday's rampage remained a mystery. U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that he had paranoia and a sleep disorder and was hearing voices in his head.
The officials said there has been no connection to international or domestic terrorism, and investigators have found no manifesto or other writings suggesting a political or religious motivation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal investigation was continuing.
Officials have said Alexis, a 34-year-old contract employee on a Navy project, used a valid pass to get into the Washington Navy Yard, where 18,000 people work, and started shooting. Witnesses described a gunman firing down on the cafeteria from an upper-floor overlook. Three people were wounded.
Alexis carried three weapons in the attack: a shotgun and two handguns that he took from a police officer at the scene, according to two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.
The attack was unlikely to lead to tighter gun controls. Measures proposed during national outrage over a school shooting in December that killed 20 children failed this year in Congress. "Yet another mass shooting,'' President Barack Obama said Monday. It was at least the seventh mass shooting of his presidency.
But the rampage is likely to raise more questions about the background checks done on contract employees and others who are issued U.S. security clearances -- an issue that came up this year with National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, an IT employee with a government contractor. (AP)