WASHINGTON — The Washington Navy Yard shooter believed he was being targeted by an “ultra low frequency attack” and left a note saying that this was “what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this,” the FBI revealed Wednesday.
Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old computer technician for a private Navy contractor, killed 12 people and wounded four others in the Sept. 16 rampage as he fired a sawed-off Remington 870 Express shotgun, into which he had etched several statements, including “End to the torment!”
The FBI also released chilling surveillance video and photographs from Building 197 at the Navy Yard, including scenes of Alexis in a dark-blue-and-white shirt and dark trousers wielding the shotgun as he stalked hallways and stairwells in search of victims.
Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said Alexis did not expect to survive the shootings that spanned 70 minutes that Monday morning. “There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions,” she said.
She also emphasized that there was no evidence Alexis was intentionally hunting down any co-workers or supervisors he might have known since he started working at the Navy Yard on Aug. 25. She added that he was involved in a “routine” office disagreement the Friday before, but said that incident had nothing to do with his motive for the shooting.
“There is no indication to date that Alexis was targeting specific individuals,” Parlave said.
The bureau also released a timeline showing that Alexis arrived at the Navy Yard at 7:53 a.m. in a rented blue Toyota Prius with New York license plates and parked in a garage directly across from Building 197.
According to the timeline, he walked into the building carrying a backpack and was next seen headed to a fourth-floor bathroom carrying the backpack and a clipboard.
At 8:15, he left the bathroom with the shotgun “but without the backpack or a clipboard.” A minute later, he shot the first victim in the building’s 4 West area. The first 911 emergency call came a minute later.
Alexis moved to the third floor at 8:20 and next went down to the first floor; then he returned to the third floor. At times, he crouched or hid. At 9:25, police officers shot and killed him on the third floor.
According to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Sarah Jones, the shooter’s body was found near a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol that authorities said he took from a security guard he shot. The shotgun was recovered on the first floor with Alexis’ ID badge for access to the building nearby.
The backpack was recovered in the bathroom. It contained “empty boxes of ammunition, consistent with the caliber discharged on the scene,” Jones said in the affidavit. Also inside were documents with his name on them, as well as numerous electronic discs and external thumb drives.
Agents recovered his Lenovo Thinkpad T500 laptop computer at a nearby Residence Inn, where Alexis had been staying in Room 716 for nine days. The FBI did not reveal what investigators found on the various devices beyond the statement that an “ultra low frequency attack” had driven him to kill others.
For some time, Alexis had been experiencing delusional behavior, authorities said, even telling police in Newport, R.I., that unseen individuals were following him and trying to send microwaves through his body.
He purchased the shotgun at a suburban Virginia gun store two days before the shooting. According to Parlave, Alexis altered the weapon by sawing off the barrel and stock. He covered the end of the stock with purple duct tape and etched phrases into the stock.
They were: “End to the torment!” “Not what yall say!” “Better off this way!” “My ELF weapon.”
Parlave noted that the Navy uses extremely low frequency signals to communicate with submarines, but conspiracy theorists believe ELF is a weapon for government “monitoring and manipulation of unsuspecting citizens.”