Buildings Need to Be Secure - Washington Navy Yard Shooting

The Tragedy of Washington Navy Yard Shooting

On Monday, September 16, 2013, a former Navy man opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., leading to 13 deaths and more than a dozen injuries.

The gunman, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, of Texas, was shot dead after a gun battle with police.

Alexis, who was employed as a military contractor, had bought a shotgun from a gun shop in Virginia on the Saturday before the shooting. He reported to work at the Navy Yard on Monday with the shotgun. The FBI noted that he had a valid pass to enter the building.

Washington Navy Yard Shooting stemmed from the Security Negligence

Attorney Bruce Ginsburg of Ginsburg & Associates based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, noted that from a civil standpoint, the tragedy of Washington Navy Yard should be looked at from a security point of view.

“The building should be able to screen those entering the building,” Ginsburg said. He added, “Employees need to know that they are secure.”

Among the areas of law that Ginsburg & Associates practices is civil rights law, which includes cases regarding private security negligence. This entails instances when property owners fail to provide adequate security measures. Ginsburg & Associates also deals with premises liability. Premises liability encompasses defects to property as well as all types of dangers as a result of property ownership, management and/or control of the property due to negligence.

The shooting began at approximately 8:20 a.m. when three shots were fired at Building 197, which is the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command. Approximately 3,000 people work in the building. Witnesses reported a gunman firing from a fourth-floor overlook, aiming at people in the cafeteria and on the main floor. Other witnesses reported being fired at in a third-floor hallway.

Alexis had served as a full-time Navy reservist from May 2007 until he was discharged in January 2011.

The incident on Monday was the deadliest shooting rampage at a U.S. military base since Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 32 others in November 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas. He was convicted in August 2013 and sentenced to death.

Senate buildings went into lockdown after the shooting, as did schools in the area. The Washington Nationals postponed their Monday night game until Tuesday. Also, flights to and from Reagan National Airport in northern Virginia were briefly suspended.