Indian-American among 13 killed in US Navy Yard shooting
Washington: An Indian-American defence contractor was among 12 people killed by a lone gunman who was shot down after he went on a brazen shooting rampage at the high-security Washington Navy Yard, as security agencies probed the motive behind the horrific incident.
The Washington Metropolitan Police released the names of seven of those who were killed in the shootout, with one of them being 61-year-old Vishnu Pandit.
The other six identified were Michael Arnold, 59;?Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson,?73; Frank Kohler, 50; and Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46.
In all 12 people, mostly military contractors, were killed when 34-year-old military contractor Aaron Alexis, himself a defence contractor, went on a shooting rampage inside the Washington Navy Yard yesterday.
"We now have a total of 13 fatalities, including the shooter," the Washington DC Mayor, Vincent Gray, told reporters at a news conference.
"We don't know what the motive is at this stage. We'll continue to seek information about what the motive is, but we don't have any reason at this stage to suspect terrorism, but certainly it has not been ruled out," Gray said.
According to officials, Alexis left Texas about a year ago. He is believed to have entered the Navy Yard with a valid badge and had been in the Washington region for about four months. He worked as an hourly employee with a defence contractor.
According to biographical data provided by the Navy, Alexis had been in the Navy as a full-time reservist from May 2007 to January 2011, and left as a third class petty officer.
Investigators turned their attention today to the question of why Alexis killed 12 people.
Pandit, a defence contractor, died in the horrific incident. "I'm astonished," Zhaohua Zhoua, Pandit's neighbour in North Potomac, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.
Another neighbour, Mike Honig, said Pandit and his wife have lived in the neighbourhood for at least 20 years. He described Pandit as "a very nice man with an Irish setter."
Initially police said they were looking for two more suspects but later it was confirmed that there was just one shooter.
Authorities said Alexis was killed after an encounter with security. They gave no other details.
He was reportedly armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a handgun that he took from a police officer at the scene.
President Barack Obama condemned the shooting at Washington's Navy Yard as a "cowardly act".