Navy Yard Gunman Practiced Shooting Days Before Rampage

ABC News
Navy Yard Gunman Practiced Shooting Days Before Rampage

View photo

Navy Yard Gunman Practiced Shooting Days Before Rampage (ABC News)

Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis practiced shooting at a gun range two days before killing a dozen people, according to the shooting range.

Authorities have also determined that he was armed with a shotgun and at least one handgun he took from a guard he shot.

Alexis visited Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in Lorton, Va., on Saturday, J. Michael Slocum, an attorney for the store, said today. Alexis rented a rifle and bought ammunition, which he used at the practice range.

(Slocum said in his original statement today that Alexis visited the gun range on Sunday, but later corrected himself and said it was on Saturday.)

Alexis then purchased a Remington 870 shotgun and about two boxes, or 24 shells, of ammunition, the store said. Alexis provided all of his personal information to the vendor and was approved by the system, in accordance with federal law.

"After the terrible and tragic events at the Navy Yard, the Sharpshooters was visited by federal law enforcement authorities, who reviewed the range's records, including video and other materials," Slocum said in a statement. "So far, as is known Mr. Alexis visited the range only once, and he has had no other contact with the Range, so far as is known."

PHOTOS: Washington Navy Yard Shooting

Alexis' practice on the eve of the massacre adds eerie credibility to a statement by Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier today who said described Alexis today as "a gunman who was determined to kill as many people as possible."

The chief praised the cops in who went in after him.

"There is no doubt in my mind they saved numerous lives," Lanier said.

On Monday, Lanier described said there had been several engagements between Alexis and cops before he was finally shot dead.

Federal authorities are combing through Alexis' laptop computer hoping to find a clue to his rage that left 12 people dead, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Authorities are also going through Alexis' hotel room hunting for a reason why he massacred so many people.

Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI's field office in Washington, said officials believe Alexis entered Building 197 of the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters with a shotgun.

"We do not have information at this time that he had an AR-15 in his possession," Parlave said, referring to early news reports that was the weapon he used.

After entering the building, Alexis went to a men's bathroom and then to the fourth floor of the building, where he started shooting, federal and local law enforcement officials confirmed.

He proceeded to the third floor and fired shots into the cafeteria before going down a stairwell and toward the building's front entrance where he shot at security guards, officials said. He picked up at least one of the guard's handguns.

Lanier suggested a fierce gunfight between Alexis and the "active shooter teams" who entered the building. She said the shooting lasted more than 30 minutes.

Alexis had "legitimate access to the Navy Yard" and used a valid pass to gain entry to the building, Parlave said.

Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis Picked Up a Gun From a Guard He Shot

A Defense Department official said that Alexis had "secret" security clearance granted in March 2008 and that level of security clearance lasts for 10 years. Secret is the lowest of the three security clearances a person can get.

Full coverage of the Washington DC Navy Yard shooting here.

As is customary, when he left the Navy in January 2011 with an honorable discharge he was able to carry over the clearance to the civilian world.

Alexis worked for Hewlett-Packard as an IT subcontractor for the Navy, the company said. He was an employee of a company called "The Experts" that refreshed equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network.

"We can confirm that the suspect had been employed by The Experts for approximately six months over the last year, during which time we enlisted a service to perform two background checks and we confirmed twice through the Department of Defense his Secret government clearance," The Experts said in a statement today.

"The latest background check and security clearance confirmation were in late June of 2013 and revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation," the company said.

The shooting was first reported at 8:15 a.m. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said officers were on the scene within two to three minutes of the first call.

She said that internal security had already engaged the shooter and victims were already down. An active shooter team was on the site within seven minutes and Alexis was killed in a gunfight with authorities.

The FBI is asking that anyone with information on Alexis call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

View Comments (1257)

Recommended for You

  • Royal Caribbean Passenger Recounts Terrifying 12 Hours on Cruise Ship

    One passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds said she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side and she lay in bed shaking.Guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship were asked to stay in their rooms Sunday as wind gusts topped 76 miles per hour…

    Good Morning America12 mins ago
  • Massive Pig Corralled at New Hampshire Polling Station

    One New Hampshire voter this morning wanted to see how the sausage gets made.A massive pig weighing over 600 pounds was corralled today from outside a voting station here in Pelham, New Hampshire, according to the Pelham Police Department.The pig lingered among Granite State voters, who were just…

    Good Morning America14 mins ago
  • Ciara Sues Former Fiance for Slander, Defamation and Libel

    Ciara has filed a lawsuit against her former fiancé, Future. Ciara cited numerous occasions in which she claims Future made malicious comments about her, their 1-year-old son, and her new boyfriend, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, on social media and in the press. A few months later, they…

    Good Morning America14 mins ago
  • Zika Virus May Be Linked to Infant Eye Abnormalities, Study Says

    The Zika virus may be associated with another birth defect in infants, according to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology. Researchers from Brazil found that some infants exposed to the virus had ocular defects including atrophied retinas,…

    Good Morning America
  • Florida Man Attacks Victims With Metal Rod and Samurai Sword in Bizarre Crime Spree, Police Say

    A 22-year-old man clad in a bright red bucket hat went on a bizarre and violent crime spree in Lauderhill, Florida, on Sunday morning, injuring two, police said. Jovaughn Walker stole a vehicle, attacked an elderly man with a metal rod at a gas station, then drove to a market and attacked a clerk…

    Good Morning America
  • 18-Year-Old Kidney Transplant Survivor Gets Renovated Truck Thanks to Make-A-Wish

    Strangers from around the country came together to make over a pickup truck for an 18-year-old kidney transplant survivor. Nick Cesarini, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was surprised with the truck Saturday in a reveal so dramatic his twin sister flew home from college to attend it. “I was blown…

    Good Morning America
  • Maryland Man Is Swamped With Texts Demanding Free Chipotle Burritos

    After mandatory employee meetings temporarily closed more than 2,000 Chipotle restaurants for a few hours on Monday, Chipotle ran a promotion to make it up to their customers. In Maryland, customers who mistakenly added an extra “2” to that number had their messages redirected to Hank Levine.

    Good Morning America
  • Zika Virus Outbreak Updates: Florida Expands State of Emergency to 7th County

    As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women, because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. …

    Good Morning America
  • Dad Writes School Note Excusing Daughters' Tardiness Because of a Bruce Springsteen Concert

    In a major Dad-move win, Patrick Pipino of Saratoga Springs, New York, penned an honest note excusing his daughters' school tardiness because the family attended a Bruce Springsteen concert on Monday night. Pipino told ABC News that his two daughters, Isabelle, 12, and Sarah, 7, are both huge…

    Good Morning America
  • Cam Newton Defends His Decision to Walk Out of the Post-Super Bowl Press Conference

    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton defended his decision to walk out of the Super Bowl's post-game press conference after his team's loss to the Denver Broncos. "I've got no more tears to cry," Newton said according to ESPN. A Broncos player could be heard boasting about his team's win as…

    Good Morning America
  • Sikh Actor and Model Waris Ahluwalia Barred From Aeromexico Flight Over Turban

    Sikh actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia remains in Mexico City, a day after he says he was barred from boarding an Aeromexico flight to New York for refusing to remove his turban in public during a security screening. "This morning in Mexico City I was told I could not board my @aeromexico flight…

    Good Morning America
  • Samuel L. Jackson Recounts Racist Moment as a Young Actor

    Samuel L. Jackson said he'll always remember this one incident that happened when he was starting his career in Hollywood. He continued "There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. "I was thinking to myself, I’m in Hollywood now, on the verge of breaking through, and…

    Good Morning America
  • Rapper DMX Rushed to Hospital After Asthma Attack, Says Lawyer

    DMX was rushed to a Yonkers, New York, hospital last night after an apparent asthma attack, his lawyer Murray Richman told ABC News. The rapper, born Earl Simmons, was at a local Ramada at the time of the incident, according to both his lawyer and the manager of the hotel, Hari Shukla. Richman…

    Good Morning America
  • Incredible Footage Shows Pedestrian Tripping Suspect as He's Running From Police

    Officers were on patrol in Kingston, United Kingdom, on Saturday when they were made aware of a report of two males dealing drugs, police said in a statement. The officers chased one of the suspects through the town center "when they received some unexpected assistance from a member of the…

    Good Morning America
  • Hong Kong 'Fish Ball Revolution' Erupts in Violent Crackdown

    Violent clashes erupted overnight in Hong Kong after protesters defended unlicensed food vendors, set up for Chinese New Year celebrations, from being shut down by police. The group said on its official Facebook page that its candidate for local council, Edward Leung Tin-kei, had been arrested.

    Good Morning America
  • Brie Larson Hasn't Seen or Spoken to Her Dad in 10 Years

    Brie Larson is up for an Oscar for her emotionally-wrenching performance of a woman held captive in a garden shed for seven years in the film "Room."Some of the inspiration for her performance, the 26-year-old actress told Elle in a new interview, comes from her own life and difficult childhood.…

    Good Morning America
  • Sylvester Stallone Says He Considered Boycotting the Oscars

    The topic of diversity in Hollywood and within the Academy was addressed by several stars Monday at the Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills. Sylvester Stallone, a best supporting actor contender for "Creed," made headlines by saying he was open to the idea of boycotting the upcoming Oscars…

    Good Morning America