Washington Navy Yard shooting: Gun control advocates gather to condemn violence

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Dozens of gun control advocates gathered near the scene of Monday’s mass shooting at Navy Yard on Tuesday night to remember the victims and decry the violence that claimed 12 innocent lives.

"It was a sense of fear, it was a sense of anger, and it was a sense of disbelief," says Shannon Watts of her reaction to the horror. She founded “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” after the tragedy in Sandy Hook.

"How do we live in a country that allows this to keep happening," she asks.

Ironically, Watts was en route to the U.S. Capitol to lobby for gun reform when 34-year-old Aaron Alexis allegedly started his killing spree.

"I wonder what it's going to take to get our cowardly, lazy Congress to get off of their behinds and to protect us as they protected themselves when they went on lockdown during this mass shooting on Monday," she says.

The FBI won’t discuss the suspect’s criminal and medical history, but according to friends, Alexis had struggled with both financial and emotional demons.

Despite this, he was still able to be employed as a contractor, which gave him the security clearance and valid identification needed to enter Navy Yard.

On Tuesday, investigators confirmed that Alexis walked into Building 197 with a shotgun and gained access to a handgun once inside.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says units arrived within two minutes, entered the building with seven, and it took at least another 20 minutes before the suspect was dead.

"There were multiple engagements with the suspect with multiple agencies before the final shots were fired," Lanier explained.

She and many others say the actions of those officers were nothing short of heroic. But there is still so much that is unknown – including a motive.

"We're not going to stop until we get answers to those questions; that's important not only for this city and this community, but most of all, for loved ones lost yesterday," says U.S. Attorney for D.C., Ron Machen.