The shooter is identified as 34 year old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas. Alexis spent one enlistment in the US Navy Reserve as an aviation electrician’s mate. He achieved the rank of Petty Officer Third Class, which is a relatively junior rank. There is no information available that Alexis had any type of combat specialty training, such as a sniper, martial artist, or master-at-arms (Navy’s version of military police). Neighbors and acquaintances have (of course) described Alexis as quiet and as someone who meditated on a regular basis. While this active shooter event seems similar to several others in recent history, the supposed secure nature of the Navy Yard distinguishes this situation.
Notably, news reports stated that the DC Police deployed their active shooter response team and had them at the Navy Yard within 7 minutes of the first reports of a shooting. While this response time may seem fast, the reality is that in an active shooter situation, snails move faster in a sea of molasses. More interesting is that a highly qualified reaction force was less than two minutes away from the Navy Yard. The Marine Barracks at 8th & I Streets is but 200 yards from the Navy Yard’s gate. Due to incompatibility issues between the civilian guarded gate and the Marine Barracks, no call was placed to the Barracks’ guardhouse. The Barracks’ reaction force maintains complete readiness 24 hours per day. As a result of turning over base security to civilian contractors, the response time to the Alexis shooting spree was increased.