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Doctors found 'no problem' with Navy Yard shooter weeks before rampage

Published time: January 31, 2014 21:31
Aaron Alexis moves through the hallways of Building #197 carrying a Remington 870 shotgun in this undated handout photo released by the FBI (Reuters)

Aaron Alexis moves through the hallways of Building #197 carrying a Remington 870 shotgun in this undated handout photo released by the FBI (Reuters)

Veteran Affairs doctors were so sure the Washington, DC, Navy Yard gunman was clear of mental issues they declared there was “no problem” with him just weeks before his shooting spree killed 12 people.

According to a new report by the Associated Press, medical records for the 34-year-old gunman Aaron Alexis showed him complaining of insomnia multiple times, as well as physical problems such as hearing loss and foot injuries. Three weeks before his violent outburst, Alexis adamantly denied harboring any suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

In early August, Alexis told police that disembodied voices were using a microwave in his hotel room to keep him awake. The defense contractor employing Alexis revoked his ability to access classified material after this came to their attention, but reinstated his access soon afterwards and declined to inform the Navy of its actions.

Just over two weeks later, Alexis was treated by a VA doctor for insomnia and given an antidepressant to help him sleep. The medical staff did not find anything of significant concern.

Speech and thoughts clear and focused. Denies flashbacks. Denies recent stress. Denies drugs, cocaine, heroin, caffeine product, depression, anxiety, chest pain, [shortness of breath], nightmares. He denies taking nap during the day. Denies [suicidal ideation] or [homicidal ideation]," the doctor wrote, according to the AP.

"He works in the Defense Department, no problem there," the doctor added.

Alexis also denied owning any weapons when asked by doctors, a claim backed up by FBI officials who searched his apartment after the shooting.

In another doctor appointment on August 28, Alexis repeated his trouble with insomnia, but denied having any feelings of hopelessness or depression. He was once again given antidepressants as treatment.

On September 16, Alexis went on a shooting spree in the Navy Yard with a shotgun he purchased two days prior. Twelve people were killed and another eight injured. Alexis himself was killed in a confrontation with police.

Some critics of the VA doctors, including lawmakers and at least one lawyer who’s representing a shooting victim, claim the medical staff was not thorough enough in its observation of Alexis. Others, meanwhile, argue there wasn’t much else that could be done if an individual directly denies suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide/homicide.

Comments (11)


mergon 03.02.2014 09:53

What we need to know here is did any of those doctors ever work have anything to do with ATOS ?
Look at the facts that for money corporation does medicals for the UK ,s DWP where they as a matter of routine would pass as fit for work a person who had 2 spine operations
1 knee operation, ostyio athritis ,and diabetic ,when you have doctors passing people as fit for work on a money basis you end up with problems like this !


Jeffrey A. Trueman 01.02.2014 17:47

The only way to end the betrayal trauma taking place in America would be for a Declaration of Independence II ... with restatement of why DI-I was established to begin with. But what are the chances of that ... when American is split down the middle with their political beliefs. What did Lincoln say about a "house divided?"


Wilson Boozer 01.02.2014 10:04

The standard for denying custodial care for those that are mentally disturbed is that the person is no threat to himself or others. Since this is determined to be his state in many cases before such a person arms himself and blows away a bunch of people, it is obvious that those making such a determination don't know what they are doing.

View all comments (11)
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