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Motive for Washington Navy Yard rampage a mystery

  • A Metropolitan Police Department officer walks near the Washington Navy Yard after at least one gunman launched an attack inside the Washington Navy Yard, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation's capital, in Washington, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A former Navy reservist went on a shooting rampage Monday inside a building at the heavily secured Washington Navy Yard, firing from a balcony onto office workers in an atrium below, authorities and witnesses said. Thirteen people were killed, including the gunman.

Authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been disguised in an olive-drab military-style uniform.

But as the day wore on and night fell, the rampage increasingly appeared to be the work of a lone gunman.

Washington Navy Yard Shootings

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The attack unfolded about 8:20 a.m. in the heart of the nation's capital, less than four miles from the White House and two miles from the Capitol.

Investigators said the motive was a mystery.

Mayor Vincent Gray said there was no indication it was a terrorist attack. But he said the possibility had not been ruled out.

It was the deadliest shooting at a military installation in the U.S. since Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas. He was convicted last month and sentenced to death.

President Barack Obama lamented yet another mass shooting in the U.S. that he said took the lives of American "patriots." He promised to make sure "whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."

The FBI took charge of the investigation and identified the gunman killed in the attack as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Texas. He died after a running gunbattle inside the building with police, investigators said.

At the time of the rampage, Alexis was working in information technology with a company that was a Defense Department subcontractor.

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