WASHINGTON — Video taken inside Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard shows Aaron Alexis "calmly" walking down hallways and stepping into offices, firing indiscriminately at workers and reloading his shotgun with shells from the pockets of his black cargo pants, the FBI chief said Thursday.
The video, described by FBI Director James B. Comey, makes clear, he said, that the 34-year-old civilian contractor was not targeting any individuals Monday but rather was intent on killing as many people as possible, even shooting a security guard and grabbing his weapon to continue the rampage.
Comey said the assault lasted at least half an hour, until police cornered him, exchanged gunfire and killed him when he ran out of ammunition.
Alexis was shooting people, Comey said, "with no discernible pattern." He said Alexis was "calmly moving without any particular direction or purpose. It was not as if he was looking for any particular person or group."
Anthony Meely, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police's labor committee for the Navy Yard's officers, said in an interview the force was woefully undermanned Monday because of government cutbacks. There were only six patrolmen on duty instead of 11, all were posted at the gates, and only two patrol cars were available, he said.
The FBI director, who held his first news briefing at bureau headquarters after taking over two weeks ago, said Alexis was working as a civilian contractor at the Navy Yard on a computer server refresher project, handling tasks throughout the building, which made him familiar with the layout of the most crowded facility on the base. At one point, Comey said, Alexis opened a door and shot a maintenance man as though he knew he would be working outside.
Comey added that despite earlier reports, Alexis never sprayed sniper fire on employees in an atrium plaza from above, but instead roamed the halls and offices on several floors, firing at will, for 30 minutes.