By Whitney Waters
Sirens could be heard from a mile away as my roommates and I stood in complete silence.
Approximately 12 victims are dead and several are injured after former U.S. Navy reservist Aaron Alexis opened fire at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. early September 16.
As a California resident and California Baptist University student, my family and friends were fearful. I received many calls to make sure I was alright, since this tragedy was so large and I was so far away from home.
We were notified by email that we were not allowed to go anywhere near the scene, located a mile away. We were also to remain on lock down until all suspects were apprehended.
The city was on high alert. People were in a flurry of confusion and fear. They could not imagine how a place under such high security could be under attack. There were also no identified suspects at the time, and there were rumors that there may have been more than one gunman.
It was a somber day in D.C. as people sat helplessly waiting for more information to share with their families and friends. For some, they were waiting to know that their loved ones were safe. For others, this was a tragedy that would change their lives forever.
Hundreds of workers were forced to flee for safety or hide in their offices as the gunman fired a high-powered, semi-automatic weapon. A mile away at the Capitol, the Senate temporarily locked down its offices and buildings.
The families and Navy Yard victims were reunited at the Washington Nationals baseball stadium located next to the scene.
Later reports announced that Alexis, the identified shooter, was born in New York and served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2007 to 2011, achieving the rank of petty officer 3rd class. He was also employed by HP Enterprise Services, working on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network.
Despite Alexis’s history of violence and physiological problems, his federal security clearance was renewed.
He was able to enter the facilities using a valid ID card, where he opened fire on many with an unknown motive.
Walking down the street, flags everywhere can be seen at half-staff in mourning for those who lost their lives. D.C. has come together during this hard time.