Home Washington Press Releases 2013 Law Enforcement Shares Findings of the Investigation into the Washington Navy Yard Shootings

Law Enforcement Shares Findings of the Investigation into the Washington Navy Yard Shootings

FBI Washington September 25, 2013
  • Public Information Office (202) 278-3519

WASHINGTON—Today, law enforcement officials shared findings to date of the investigation into the shootings that occurred at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, September 16, 2013.

The developments were announced by Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department; Michael Monroe, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Carl Vasilko, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Teresa Chambers, Chief of the U.S. Park Police.

Through information and evidence gathered in interviews, searches, and other investigative activity, investigators and analysts have gained a greater understanding of the recent movements and activities of deceased shooter Aaron Alexis, 34.

Alexis was employed as a contractor for a private information technology firm. Pursuant to his employment, Alexis was assigned to a project at the Washington Navy Yard and he arrived in the Washington, D.C., area on August 25, 2013. From August 25 to August 31, 2013, Alexis stayed at a hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. From August 31 to September 7, 2013, Alexis stayed at a hotel in the Pentagon City area of Arlington, Virginia. On September 7, Alexis moved to the Residence Inn in Southwest Washington, D.C., where he remained through September 16, 2013. Alexis began working at the Washington Navy Yard on September 9, 2013.

On Saturday, September 14, 2013, Alexis purchased a Remington 870 shotgun and ammunition at a gun shop in Northern Virginia. On the same day, Alexis also purchased a hacksaw, among other items, at a home improvement store in Northern Virginia.

On the morning of Monday, September 16, 2013, Alexis arrived at the Washington Navy Yard. Alexis had legitimate access to the Navy Yard as a result of his work as a contractor and he utilized a valid pass to gain entry to Building #197. Shortly after his arrival in the building and over the course of approximately one hour, Alexis used the Remington 870 shotgun and a Beretta handgun he obtained during the course of his shooting to kill 12 victims and wound four surviving victims before he was shot and killed by law enforcement officers. Investigation to date has determined that Alexis acted alone.

The following timeline details Alexis’ activity during the morning of September 16, 2013:

  • 7:53 a.m. - Alexis’ rental car, a blue Toyota Prius with New York plates, entered Parking Garage #28 at the Washington Navy Yard, located directly across from Building #197.
  • 8:08 a.m. - Alexis exited Parking Garage #28 on foot carrying a backpack. Alexis entered Building #197 and proceeded to the elevator.
  • 8:09 a.m. - Alexis exited the elevator on the fourth floor and entered the men’s bathroom carrying a backpack and a clipboard.
  • 8:15 a.m. - Alexis crossed the hallway into the 4 West area of Building #197 with shotgun, but without the backpack or a clipboard.
  • 8:16 a.m. - Alexis shot the first victim in the 4 West area of Building #197.
  • 8:17 a.m. - First 911 call is received from the fourth floor of Building #197.
  • 8:20 a.m. - Alexis left the fourth floor using the stairs and entered the third floor.
  • 8:28 a.m. - Alexis appeared on the first floor.
  • 8:57 a.m. - Alexis returned to the third floor.
  • 9:25 a.m. - Law enforcement shoot and kill Alexis on the third floor.

Both weapons used by Alexis were recovered at the scene and have been submitted to the FBI Laboratory for forensic analysis. The Remington 870 shotgun had been altered with a sawed-off barrel and stock. Purple duct tape covered the end of the stock and handwritten etchings were present on various parts of the shotgun. Etched into the barrel of the shotgun were the words “End to the torment!” Etched into the right side of the shotgun receiver were the words “Not what yall say!” and etched into the left side of the receiver were the phrases “Better off this way!” and “My ELF weapon!”

Alexis’ backpack was located in the fourth floor men’s bathroom, hanging on the back of a stall door. Contents of the backpack included a roll of purple duct tape and electronic media. Searches were conducted of Alexis’ blue Toyota Prius rental car, located in Parking Garage #28, and his hotel room in Southwest Washington, D.C. Additional electronic media was located in the hotel room.

Analysis of the electronic media recovered from Alexis’ belongings revealed several relevant communications. While analysis of these communications is ongoing in conjunction with other information and evidence determined through investigation, preliminary analysis has yielded clues to his intentions and issues of importance to him. There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions. There is no indication to date that Alexis was targeting specific individuals.

There are multiple indicators that Alexis held a delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic waves. The etching of “My ELF weapon!” on the left side of the receiver of the Remington 870 shotgun is believed to reference these electromagnetic waves. In addition, a document retrieved from his electronic media stated, “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.”

ELF technology was a legitimate program for naval sub-tonal submarine communications; however, conspiracy theories exist which misinterpret its application as the weaponization of remote neural frequencies for government monitoring and manipulation of unsuspecting citizens.

While announcing these developments in this ongoing joint investigation, Assistant Director Parlave, Chief Lanier, Special Agent in Charge Monroe, U.S. Attorney Machen, Special Agent in Charge Vasilko, and Chief Chambers commended the work of investigators and analysts who continue to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard.

Photographs and video taken at the Washington Navy Yard can be accessed at www.fbi.gov/washingtonnavyyard.