On Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 people at the U.S. Navy command complex building before being shot and killed himself.
Alexis was a 34-year-old civilian contractor and military veteran from Fort Worth. He had a valid base entry pass, and according to the US Today news report, he had been in the Navy reserve on active duty before he was discharged for misconduct.
Alexis was an online student at the Fort Worth campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he pursued a bachelor’s degree of science in aeronautics, according to the school official’s statement.
While the gunshots were echoing in the cafeteria and other parts of building 197, hundreds of workers in the navy complex were forced to hide in their offices.
According to US Today Monday’s report, three people including a police officer suffered non- fatal gunshot wounds inside building 197 located at the Sea System Commands headquarters.
“With still so many unanswered questions as to why a tragedy of this magnitude would happen on a security military base, the pattern of violence and the history of mental illness that brought the shooter to this place cannot be explained without knowing what went on inside of his mind,” said Julie Armstrong, visiting assistant professor of mass communications at CSU – Pueblo.
“We must continue our vigilance and never let down our guard. These senseless acts of terrorism and violence like the Fort Hood shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, Columbine and Sandy Hook, that continue to slaughter innocent Americans on our own soil, must be stopped. And gun control is not the only solution,” Armstrong said.
Many students at CSU-Pueblo are unsure how to react to this national tragedy, which continues the apparent trend of mass shootings in the United States.
“It’s horrible and I don’t know what is wrong with people in this world,” Allison Gigliotti, a sophomore at CSU–Pueblo, said.
“Seems like these tragic events are becoming more common, and it’s so sad that people have got used to it,” said Rena Gomez, a CSU-Pueblo student from Colombia.
The incident has also caused many Americans to question the security of the country.
Some students, including Timothy Zecher, a junior business major, think that incidents such as these show the poor state of mental healthcare in the United States.
“I wonder why the shooter wasn’t receiving any effective treatment,” said Christina Davis, a senior business major at CSU–Pueblo “It is scary that he was able to get in such a secure building. This incident should be a wakeup call for America, and we need to take care of our own families, veterans, soldiers and people.”
Some people consider this shooting to be one of the most tragic yet, since it targeted the military, which works hard for the security of every American.
“Our service men and women risk their lives abroad on near daily basis, so for them to endure the pain brought on by the shootings at home is a tragedy. I hope it prompts our government to reevaluate their process in issuing security credentials. My heart goes out to the families of those lost,” said Zach Farrell, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard who is also a senior mass communications major at CSU-Pueblo.
“I hate seeing things like this shooting happen and it hits harder when it is done on people who are protecting our country,” said Devan Mills, a mass communications major at CSU–Pueblo. “I am so thankful for every single man and woman who serves our country. I can’t imagine being in their shoes. I hope that with some changes there will not be any more shooting like this and the one on Fort Hood.”
A federal law enforcement official reported to US Today on Monday that Alexis legally purchased at least one weapon used in the shooting.
Authorities continue to investigate, and Americans continue to wonder what might keep such a horrific act from happening again.
“I wonder at what point these shootings will have some sort of legislative consequences. I realize second amendment rights are a touchy topic in Colorado, but I think awful events like this should remind us the importance of keeping each other safe,” said Noelle San Souci, a senior at CSU–Pueblo.
Police have released the names of seven of the 12 people killed which include: Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73; Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46; and Vishnu Pandit, 61. The hometowns were not listed.