Story By Newswatch 12 News Team, NBC News and Associated Press
Photos By NBC News
WASHINGTON - NEW INFORMATION: We now know 13 people died today after a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard. They are all believed to be civilians or contractors. About half of the families have been notified as of this evening.
We've learned the shooter was discharged from the Navy for misconduct. He was working as a contractor for the Navy-- which answers the question of how he got in the Naval Yard.
But the FBI is still investigating what weapons he used, and how he got them in.
Police also said they are no longer looking for any other suspects in the shooting. They do not believe there is any further danger to the public from today's events.
EARLIER TODAY: A man brandishing an assault rifle, shotgun and handgun opened fire Monday inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard. The city police chief said 12 people were killed.
SWAT officers swarmed the building, the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command, and a shooter there was killed, sources told NBC News. Law enforcement officials identified the gunman to NBC News as Aaron Alexis, 34, originally of Fort Worth, Texas. They said he recently began working as a civilian contractor.
Chief Cathy Lanier said at mid-afternoon that as many as two other suspects could be at large, both seen with firearms and wearing military-style uniforms. Minutes later, police said on Twitter that one of the two had been identified and was not a suspect or person of interest.
The rampage was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December, and the worst at a military installation since 13 people were killed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.
The number of injured was not clear, but some reports placed it as high as 16.
President Barack Obama called it a "cowardly act." He said the rampage targeted patriots, military and civilian alike, "men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us."
The Navy said the first shots were fired at 8:20 a.m. ET at the Sea Systems Command headquarters. Patricia Ward, who works at the Navy Yard, said she had just gotten breakfast in the cafeteria when she heard "three gunshots, pow-pow-pow, straight in a row."
"All of the people that were in the cafeteria, we all panicked, and we were trying to decide which way we were going to run out," she said. "I just ran."
The roughly 3,000 people who work there were told to stay in place. For the next several hours, conflicting reports circulated about whether the shooter was still alive, whether he had accomplices, how many places were active shooting scenes, and how many people were dead and injured.
In the meantime, chaos enveloped the surrounding neighborhood. Flights were briefly grounded at Reagan National Airport. Nearby schools and bridges the headquarters of the Department of Transportation were locked down. Farther away, police stepped up security on the Capitol grounds.
Many of the details were still uncertain at midafternoon. Hours after the shootings, the sergeant-at-arms of the Senate said he had recommended a "shelter-in-place" order to Senate leaders.
Terrie Durham, who works at the Naval Sea Systems Command building, said she saw a gunman who appeared to be wearing dark fatigues. Another worker there, Todd Brundidge, said he heard a fire alarm go off, and later saw the gunman come around the corner.
"He turned our way and started firing, and we ran downstairs to get out of the building," Brundidge said. "No words. He raised the gun and started firing."
A naval security guard was among those shot and was hit in both legs, U.S. military officials said. Washington city police told WRC, the NBC affiliate in Washington, that one of their officers was also among those shot. It was not clear how many of the others shot were civilian and how many were military.
Tim Hogan, a spokesman for Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, posted photos to his Twitter account of people tending to at least one person down on a street corner.
Washington police issued lookouts for two people they described as suspects — a 50-year-old black man with a rifle, wearing an olive drab military uniform, and a white man with a pistol, wearing a short-sleeved, tan uniform and a beret. They later said that the man in the tan outfit was not a suspect.
Dr. Janis Orlowski, the chief medical officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, said that the hospital was treating three gunshot victims — a woman hit in the head and hand, a woman hit in the shoulder and a man hit in the legs.
She said that the victims came in alert and talking.
"They're talking about gunshots that they heard in rapid succession," she said.
George Washington University Hospital said it had one patient.
Obama, speaking at an event marking the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis, turned to the shooting and said: "We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital."
"It's a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel," he said. "These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us. They're patriots. And they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home."
The Naval Sea Systems Command builds, buys and maintains ships and submarines and their combat systems. The Navy Yard is along the Anacostia River in Washington, near the Washington Nationals baseball stadium. The Nationals postponed their game Monday night against the Atlanta Braves. The notation on the Nationals' website read, "Postponed: Tragedy."
Tracy Connor, Kasie Hunt, Michael O'Brien and Andrew Rafferty of NBC News contributed to this report.
STATEWIDE - A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider a pair of rulings affecting Wisconsin's voter ID law, meaning no more changes to the requirement are likely before the November election.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously declined to have a full panel of judges hear appeals of two recent rulings affecting the voter ID requirement and a host of other election-related laws. The U.S. Supreme Court would have to intervene for any changes to happen before the election Nov. 8.
The appeals court's upholding the earlier rulings means that Wisconsin voters will have to show an acceptable ID to vote, but those having trouble getting it can get a temporary ID from the Division of Motor Vehicles.
A former nun who knew one of the two nuns slain in Mississippi says she had always been interested in working with the "poorest of the poor."
Darlene Nicgorski said Saturday that she had recruited Sister Margaret Held to come to Holly Springs, Mississippi, to work as a social worker in a program there that ran schools and offered day care to help young mothers finish school.
Nicgorski said Held was "always interested in working with the marginalized, the underserved, the poorest of the poor."
Held and Sister Paula Merrill were found dead Thursday in their Mississippi home. A suspect was arrested late Friday and charged in their killings.
Nicgorski said the sisters' deaths just don't make sense. She said they would have given the suspect anything he needed.
The Kentucky-based order where one of two slain nuns belonged says the order is establishing a memorial fund to continue her work.
Diane Curtis, a spokeswoman for Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, said they have received messages from around the world from people asking how they can support them in this tragedy.
The fund will be established through the order's website at http://bit.ly/2bIAee8 .
She says it will be used to "continue the legacy of Sister Paula, to minister to the poor."
The order is also asking for prayers for all involved in the tragedy.
She says Merrill went to Kentucky from Aug. 17 until Monday to meet with others from Sisters of Charity.
Curtis called it a "beautiful visit."
The clinic where two slain nuns worked says the man accused of killing them was not a patient there.
Dr. Elias Abboud, the physician who oversees the clinic, says he called the office manager after he saw there was an arrest made to check if Rodney Earl Sanders had been a patient at the clinic but he was not.
Sanders was arrested late Friday in the deaths of two nuns whose bodies were found Thursday. Sisters Paula Merrill and Margaret Held were both nurses who had spent about 30 years helping people in Mississippi.
Abboud says the community and the patients will miss them.
Father Greg Plata (PLATT-ah) of Greenwood, Mississippi, is sacramental minister at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Lexington, where the Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill had led Bible study for years.
Plata said Saturday that he does not think people at the church knew 46-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the slayings of the nuns.
Sanders was arrested late Friday and is being held at an undisclosed location while he waits for an initial court appearance to be set. Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said Saturday he does not know whether Sanders is represented by an attorney.
The bodies of Held and Merrill were found Thursday in their home in Durant, Mississippi.
The order of one of the nuns killed in Mississippi has issued a statement that thanks the law enforcement officers who are working on the case.
The statement by the U.S. Province Leadership Team, School Sisters of St. Francis, says Sister Margaret Held belonged to their community.
The community offered its "deepest appreciation" to investigators and to "the hundreds of people and organizations who offered their prayers and words of support in the wake of the sisters' deaths."
The bodies of Held and Sister Paul Merrill of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth were found Thursday in their Mississippi home. The women worked as nurse practitioners at a clinic for the poor. Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko (cause-ee-EH-sko), Mississippi faces capital murder charges in their deaths.
The nephew of a nun who was killed in Mississippi says he's thankful a suspect has been arrested so that no one else is at risk but that it does not bring closure to the grieving family.
David Merrill, speaking by telephone from Stoneham, Mass., says he heard about the arrest of Rodney Earl Sanders early Saturday morning.
He says the family is "thankful that he's off the streets," but the family still has to deal with the loss.
Sanders is accused of killing Sisters Paula Merrill and Margaret Held, whose bodies were found Thursday in their Mississippi home.
David Merrill says he agrees with the idea of forgiveness and trying to forgive the person who killed his aunt and her fellow nun. But he says he's "not as strong" as his aunt, and he's not sure if he's "capable of completely forgiving."
Authorities in Mississippi don't anticipate any more arrests in the slayings of two nuns.
Forty-six-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko (cause-ee-EH-sko), Mississippi, was charged late Friday with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.
State Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain tells The Associated Press that as of Saturday, "investigators believe Sanders acted alone."
Sanders is being held at an undisclosed jail and his initial court appearance has not been set. Strain says he doesn't know whether Sanders is represented by an attorney.
The bodies of Held and Merrill were discovered Thursday in their home in Durant, Mississippi, after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in nearby Lexington, where they were nurse practitioners.
A spokeswoman for the Kentucky-based congregation where one of two murdered Mississippi nuns will be buried has expressed thanks to those working to solve the case.
Diane Curtis, director of communications for Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, based in Nazareth, Kentucky, tells The Associated Press in a statement early Saturday: "Our congregation expresses gratitude to all who have been working so hard on this investigation. At this time we continue to pray for everyone involved in this tragedy."
Forty-six-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was charged Friday night with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.
Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived.
Held will be buried in Wisconsin and Merrill will be buried at her congregation's headquarters in Nazareth, Kentucky.
Authorities say they have charged a 46-year-old man in connection with the deaths of two nuns who were killed in Mississippi.
Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said in a statement Friday night that Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.
Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived.
Lt. Colonel Jimmy Jordan says "Sanders was developed as a person of interest early on in the investigation."
Sanders is being held in an undisclosed detention center awaiting his initial court appearance.
MILWAUKEE - Researchers have found elevated numbers of tumors in fish in the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers, suggesting that more cleanup efforts are needed to remove contaminants from the three Wisconsin waterways.
The study led by the U.S. Geological Survey found elevated skin and liver tumors in white suckers. It also found that some male white suckers sampled for the study had testicular tumors. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2bsUOyk ) that finding was a surprise as those tumors had not often been found in other research projects involving polluted rivers targeted for cleanups.
The study, published in the Journal of Fish Diseases, says exact cause of the tumors isn't known. But previous research has suggested that exposure to certain chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can cause liver tumors in fish.
MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Police Department wants a new member of its police squad--specifically a police dog.
The department has been fundraising for a K9 for the past year or so.
On Saturday the Lakeland Area Public Task Force held Lakeland Area Public Safety day as a way to raise money.
Squad cars, ambulance trucks, fire trucks, and every type of rescue crew from both Oneida and Vilas counties showed off their gear.
"These guys came out to donate their time so that these kids could have fun, climb around in fire trucks, squad cars, and the DNR boats, everything, just to educate them a little bit and to have a good time," said Minocqua Police Officer Matt Tate.
Police dogs can cost thousands of dollars. Officer Tate said the department is getting close to its goal, but isn't quite there yet.
The event wasn't just to raise money. It was also about community and education.
"It's important that we do these fundraising events so people see not only where some of their tax dollars are going but also look, these are the resources we have so if you need us you can call," Tate said.
This was first year of the event. Tate said they plan to host it next year and the proceeds for that will go to a different organization.
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