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Video footage just released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows 34-year-old Aaron Alexis as he entered the D.C. Navy Yard before the shooting began. The video is part of this full report released by the FBI, that includes everything the agency knows about Alexis so far. The report has detailed pictures of the rifle Alexis used during the shooting, including close ups of the many strange engravings on the bottom and sides of the gun. 

The video pinpoints the car Alexis used to enter the facility's parking garage where, much later, many of the buildings employees would hide while law enforcement tried to contain the situation. Alexis can be seen setting up his rifle and then sneaking between floors before opening fire on the unsuspecting Navy Yard employees. 

The report also confirms much of the information we already know. In the days leading up to the shooting, Alexis bought the Remington shotgun from a gun store in Virginia. He was employed as a contractor and was stationed at the Navy Yard beginning at the end of August. Because of his past work in the Navy and his current employment with a contractor, Alexis had full access to the Navy Yard. Then, on September 16, Alexis entered the D.C. Navy Yard building and killed 12 people and injured four more. This is the timeline of events, per the FBI: 

  • 7:53 a.m. - Alexis’ rental car, a blue Toyota Prius with New York plates, entered Parking Garage #28 at the Washington Navy Yard, located directly across from Building #197.
  • 8:08 a.m. - Alexis exited Parking Garage #28 on foot carrying a backpack. Alexis entered Building #197 and proceeded to the elevator.
  • 8:09 a.m. - Alexis exited the elevator on the fourth floor and entered the men’s bathroom carrying a backpack and a clipboard.
  • 8:15 a.m. - Alexis crossed the hallway into the 4 West area of Building #197 with shotgun, but without the backpack or a clipboard.
  • 8:16 a.m. - Alexis shot the first victim in the 4 West area of Building #197.
  • 8:17 a.m. - First 911 call is received from the fourth floor of Building #197.
  • 8:20 a.m. - Alexis left the fourth floor using the stairs and entered the third floor.
  • 8:28 a.m. - Alexis appeared on the first floor.
  • 8:57 a.m. - Alexis returned to the third floor.
  • 9:25 a.m. - Law enforcement shoot and kill Alexis on the third floor.

The FBI also has new details on Alexis' mental condition before the attack. While we parsed through Alexis' mental health and legal history, the biggest remaining question was why he decided to attack the Navy Yard that day. The FBI concluded Alexis was "delusional" and "prepared to die" going into the attack, and he believed his mind was being controlled by electromagnetic waves: 

There are multiple indicators that Alexis held a delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic waves. The etching of “My ELF weapon!” on the left side of the receiver of the Remington 870 shotgun is believed to reference these electromagnetic waves. In addition, a document retrieved from his electronic media stated, “Ultra low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this.”

As investigators previously revealed, Alexis carved four different strange phrases into his rifle before entering the Navy Yard. The phrases "better off this way" and "my ELF weapon" and one side, "not what yall say" is on the other, and "end to the torment!" is carved into the bottom of the weapon. Here's the rifle, a Remington 870 shotgun, Alexis used during the shooting: 

Here's the side of the rifle with "better off this way" and "my elf weapon":

This is the side of the rifle with "not what yall say":

The bottom of the rifle can be seen here, with "end to the torment!" engraved: 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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