WASHINGTON – Many people in the D.C. area are grieving after a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard Monday, killing 12 people before police shot and killed him.
The shooting carried out by 34-year-old Aaron Alexis was the deadliest on a U.S. military installation since 2009’s incident at Fort Hood, Texas. It shook the region as many waited to hear if friends and family were safe.
“I’m thankful my husband wasn’t in that building yesterday, thankful he is home with me right now,” Marjorie Hickernell wrote on WTOP’s Facebook page Tuesday morning. “My heart and thoughts and prayers go out to all of the family and friends of those who were lost or injured yesterday.”
Len Jaffe wrote on Facebook that she never imagined a shooting happening at a place like the Navy Yard.
“This was a horrible tragedy. You just didn’t expect an event like this at a facility like the Navy Yard, but if it could happen at Fort Hood, I suppose it could happen anywhere,” Jaffe wrote Tuesday. “Prayers to all the families who lost loved ones. May you all find solace in knowing you are not alone.”
Many commenters are calling for legislators to come together to discuss gun violence.
“We must look for ways to stop the continuing mass shootings in the US. To do nothing is outrageously disrespectful of those who have lost their lives while we dither,” Deborah Geary wrote on WTOP’s Facebook page.
A WTOP caller named Jerry said the shooting is another example of why more gun control is needed — especially after reports surfaced of Alexis’ history.
Alexis was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what he later described to detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout.”
“If this fellow had been properly addressed back in Washington state when he had anger issues shooting people’s tires and things, then a lot of this, perhaps, could have been avoided,” Jerry said.
Alexis also was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, after a neighbor reported she had been nearly struck by a bullet shot from his downstairs apartment. The case reportedly was not pursued after it was determined the gun discharged accidentally.
Larry Janssen took to Facebook to question the pattern of mass shootings.
“Once again, a lunatic with a gun and innocent lives are lost. Why?” Janssen wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.