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Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months. And to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this.
Alexis in a message from his computer devices

Aaron Alexis was an American mass murderer and workplace shooter who perpetrated the September 16, 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting, which left 13 people dead (including Alexis himself) and 8 others injured.

Background

Early Life

Alexis was born on May 9, 1979 in Queens, New York City. He was raised in Brooklyn and lived in Fort Worth in Texas. He had an odd fascination with Thailand at an early age, something he expressed by working at a Thailand restaurant as a waiter, studying the country's language, and regularly practicing chanting and meditating at Buddhist temples and even helping out at them. He had a sister named Naomi who he lost contact with five years prior to the shooting. At one point he claimed he was in New York when the September 11 attacks happened and told a detective the attack disturbed him. His father claimed his son had problems with PTSD and even made attempts to rescue victims during the attack though this doesn't appear to have been verified.

Army Service

Alexis enlisted in the Navy in May 2007 as an aviation electrician's mate and did service in Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 46 at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth. He eventually earned the rating of aviation electrician's mate and the rank of petty officer third class (even receiving the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal despite struggles). On January 31, 2011, Alexis was honorably discharged even though he was intended to receive a general discharge. But despite this, Alexis was cited at least eight times for misconduct. Among these were an act of malicious mischief in Seattle in 2004 when he, in an "anger-fueled blackout", shot the tires of a construction worker's car with a .45 caliber pistol after leaving his grandmother's house. There was another act of disorderly conduct in DeKalb County, Georgia in 2008. And lastly an act at Fort Worth in 2010 where after he confronted a neighbor about too much noise, he fired a weapon through the ceiling (below the neighbor's apartment). Alexis claimed that he had accidentally fired the weapon while cleaning it and cooking at the same time. He never called the police because there was no light emanating from the holes (indicating to him the shot never reached the neighbor's apartment, even though it did and left the holes in its floor and even the ceiling). The gun in question was disassembled and covered in oil. The neighbor moved out soon after this. Alexis was never prosecuted for any of these acts. At some point Alexis dated a Thai woman and regularly went to a Buddhist temple. He was described by one of its members as having many Thai friends, having an adoration for its food, and was drawn to the country's culture. He also regularly attended Sunday services and even helped out during holidays like the Thai New Year by serving guests.

In March 2008, Alexis was given secret-level security clearance that didn't mention the 2004 arrest involving a firearm (something which was only found out on the federal personnel report which led to the clearance's approval after the shooting). Alexis later mentioned he was never charged nor had he been arrested in the past seven years on his clearance application, supposedly because the 2004 charges were dismissed. This ultimately led to an investigation by the USIS (United States Investigation Services) and them being sued for fraud charges by the Department of Justice.

From September 2012 up until January 2013, Alexis served the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network for an HP Enterprise Services sub-contracting company called The Experts in Japan, where he did work described as "refreshing computer systems". Upon returning to the U.S., he complained to a roommate of his that he was never properly paid for his services there. He also frequently claimed he was being discriminated against according to another roommate. Alexis later went on to work for The Experts in the U.S. in July the same year. Alexis was also working on a bachelor's degree in aeronautics from Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide. And at the time of the shooting he worked for a subcontractor on a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services contract supporting a Navy Marine Corps (NMCI) computer network.

Mental Health

Alexis suffered from severe paranoia and a sleep disorder and practiced both Buddhism and meditation to control his mental illness. His family said that he was being treated for it and had been since August. On August 2, 2013 (a month and two weeks before the shooting), Alexis supposedly filed a police report in Rhode Island claiming he was hearing voices in his head and that he was being harassed. He was also supposedly being controlled by "extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves". Alexis checked into a hotel and naval police were called to it on August 4. When they arrived, they found that Alexis had taken apart the bed (supposedly because he believed someone was under it) and that he had taped a microphone to the ceiling, supposedly to record the voices of people who were "following" him. Nineteen days after this on the 23rd, Alexis went to an Emergency Room (ER) in Providence complaining of insomnia and was given trazodone for it. He went to another ER five days later for the same problem and was given more of the same medication. While there, he reportedly told the doctors there that he was neither depressed or thinking of harming others.

Shortly after this Alexis went to Washington, D.C. and stayed in several hotels, one of which was a Residence Inn hotel in the southwest. He had arrived there on September 7 and stayed there with other civilian contractors until his death. Two days prior to the shooting, Alexis, after passing a state and federal background check, purchased his murder weapon: a 12-gauge Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic Tactical shotgun, from the Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Virginia, 15 miles (24 km) south of Washington. While there, he also inquired about purchasing a handgun but was denied (due to federal law not allowing dealers to sell such guns directly to out-of-state customers) and, according to the store's lawyer, tested out an AR-15 rifle but didn't want it. After buying the 870 and two boxes of shells, Alexis took the shotgun home and made several alterations to it - he sawed it off and scratched the phrases, "Better off this way!", "My ELF weapon!", "Not what yall say!", and "End to the torment!" on its receiver.

Washington Navy Yard Shooting

On the Monday of September 16, 2013, Alexis left his hotel and drove to the yard in his rented Toyota Prius and arrived at about 7:53 a.m. and entered Building 197 with his pass. By 8:08 he was carrying his shotgun disassembled in a bag slung over his shoulder. He arrived at his work floor and went into the bathroom to assemble it. After finishing he went to the building's 4 West section (which had a cubical near its auditorium) and opened fire at 8:16. Alexis shot four people (three fatally). The first call to 911 was made just a minute later.

Alexis then killed an additional five victims on the building's fourth floor before heading down to the third and killing two more victims only a minute apart from each other. He shot at others as well and injured a woman in the shoulder. Alexis fired several more shots on the third floor before finally moving down to the building's first floor. The first responding officers arrived on the scene at 8:23 and could not discern which building the massacre was occurring in. They found it by both asking witnesses and seeing victims fleeing from it and entered.

Meanwhile Alexis wandered the first floor before heading towards the entrance, where he shot and killed Richard Michael Ridgell (a security guard who was told to stay his post in case the shooter attempted to exit the building) and took his Beretta M9 pistol. Alexis attempted to kill a Navy military police officer and another security guard with the shotgun but failed to hit either of them. The guard returned fire which sent Alexis fleeing down another hallway. He fired at two more police officers and an NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) agent but again failed to kill them and fled.

Alexis entered the building's west side at 8:34 and tried to kill two men with the shotgun in an alleyway, but it ran out of ammunition. So he switched to the pistol and killed one of the men while the other escaped. The sudden change of weaponry and the shooting happening in the alleyway led to responding officers (who were still trying to find Alexis) to believe that there were two shooters instead of one. Alexis went back into the building and discarded the useless shotgun in a cubical while several officers entered Building 197, but Alexis once again managed to evade them by confusing them into thinking he was on an upper floor by firing several shots which echoed through the atrium. With the officers searching for him on the 2nd floor, Alexis was able to evade them and made his way back to the third floor at about 8:55.

Concealing himself inside the floor's bank of cubicles, Alexis waited for 17 minutes until two officers and NCIS agents arrived there and Alexis engaged them. He managed to shoot one officer in both of his legs and evaded them when they dragged him down and out of the cubicles. The officers alerted more to Alexis' presence and he hid at a desk. A D.C. PERT (Police Emergency Response Team) officer and two more police officers entered the cubicles and Alexis emerged from the desk and engaged them. He managed to shoot the PERT officer but he was uninjured due to his vest and he shot Alexis in the head, killing him and ending the shooting. Overall the massacre spanned 69 minutes, beginning at 8:16 a.m. and ending at 9:25 a.m. with Alexis' death. He was 34 years-old.

Aftermath

Victims were treated for their injuries at two Washington hospitals. Numerous roadways, bridges, flights out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, eight schools, and several U.S. Senate buildings were all locked down for several hours after the shooting. Then U.S. President Barack Obama expressed condolences for the shooting's victims and both ordered flags to be flown at half-staff and attended a memorial service for those killed. The shooting caused a major rise in concern of the security of U.S. military facilities. The Navy Yard resumed operation three days later, but Building 197 was permanently closed down. Just a day after the shooting, a protest for more strict gun laws was attended by both gun control activists and even the relatives of victims of three other massacres (among them the Sandy Hook shooting and Aurora shooting). Nine days after the shooting The Experts were fired by Hewlett Packard because they failed to respond properly to concerns of Alexis' mental health issues. Ultimately a remembrance wall was constructed in memory of the victims in February of 2014.

Modus Operandi

Alexis killed his victims with either a sawed-off 12-gauge Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic Tactical shotgun, and later a 9mm Beretta M9 semi-automatic pistol he stole from a slain security guard. During the shooting Alexis wandered the fourth, third, then first floors targeting civilian employees and contractors, and later responding police officers, Navy military police officers, NCIS agents, U.S Park Police officers, and D.C. PERT officers. Most victims were shot in the head at close range. It's also interesting to note that at several points during the massacre, Alexis fired shots that confused officers into searching for him on floors that he wasn't on. And that his abrupt change of weaponry and alleyway shooting caused them to believe there were two shooters instead of one. It's unknown if he did this intentionally or not.

Known Victims

Early Crimes

  • Dates further unspecified: At least eight citations for misconduct, known ones are:
    • 2004, Seattle: A victimless act of malicious mischief (shot the tires of a car; no one was hurt)
    • 2008, DeKalb County, Georgia: An unspecified citing for disorderly conduct
    • 2010, Fort Worth: A victimless shooting (fired a weapon; no one and nothing was hit)

All the following were attacked in the September 16, 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting:

Fatalities

  • The fourth floor shooting:
    • Michael Arnold, 59
    • Martin Bodrig, 53
    • Arthur Daniels, 51
    • Sylvia Frasier, 53
    • Kathy Gaarde, 62
    • John Roger Johnson, 73
    • Mary Francis Knight, 51
    • Frank Kohler, 50
  • The third floor shooting:
    • Vishnu Pandit, 61 (shot in the left temple; survived initially, but later died at George Washington University Hospital)
    • Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46
  • The first floor shooting:
    • Richard Michael Ridgell, 52 (security guard; also stole his pistol)
  • The alleyway shooting:
    • Gerald Read, 58 (killed in an alleyway)

Injuries/Attempts

  • The fourth floor shooting:
    • Unnamed victim (shot in the head and hand)
    • Numerous unnamed people (attempted to shoot but missed)
    • Unnamed woman (shot in the shoulder)
  • The first floor shooting:
    • Unnamed security guard (shot at but missed)
    • Unnamed Navy military police officer (shot at but missed)
    • Two unnamed police officers (shot at but missed)
    • Unnamed NCIS agent (shot at but missed)
    • Unnamed man (shot at in an alleyway; he escaped)
    • Officer Scott Williams (shot in both his legs)
    • Officer Emmanuel Smith (shot at but missed)
    • NCIS Agent Brian Kelley (shot at but missed)
    • NCIS Agent Ed Martin (shot at but missed)
    • D.C. PERT Officer Dorian DeSantis (shot in the chest; was saved by his vest)
    • U.S. Park Police Officer Andrew Wong (shot at but missed)
    • U.S. Park Police Officer Carl Hiott (shot at but missed)

On Criminal Minds

  • Season Thirteen
    • "False Flag" - The Washington Navy Yard shooting may have been one of the many massacres mentioned and referenced throughout the episode.
    • "Mixed Signals" - While not mentioned by name, Alexis was referenced by Alvez when he mentions Alexis' massacre and that he was motivated by a low frequency attack. He also appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Caleb Sands - Both were killers who did work in a foreign country, had stressors involving some sort of perceived auditory attack (Sands was tormented by a delusional hum, while Alexis claimed he heard low frequency electronic waves and voices in his head), attacked people connected to them in some way (Sands killed a hobbyist he bought a hum-cancelling box from when it didn't work, while Alexis killed his own co-workers), and both their killings were (presumably in Alexis' case) perceived attempts to end their 'torment'.

References

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