Retired commander: ‘No doubt’ Alexis shot his way in at Navy Yard

A former Navy commander said he has “no doubt” that assailant Aaron Alexis shot his way into Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard, where he killed 12 people on Monday before being killed himself.

Retired Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, the former commander of the destroyer Cole, which was attacked in a suicide bombing in 2000, said on “MSNBC Live” Tuesday that the building involved in the attack is very secure, and Alexis likely gained entry through force. However, he said that an investigation needed to be done to look for security shortfalls, both on the Navy Yard and on bases across the Navy.

Eyewitnesses have described Alexis shooting down into the cafeteria from an upper mezzanine, suggesting that he knew his way around the building well.

“Clearly he had some former knowledge or idea of what went on in that building and the layout to get where he needed to be,” Cmdr. Lippold said.

Alexis‘ identification card allowed him access to the base, but did not allow him access to Building 197, where Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters is located. Investigators are still working to understand how he got into the building.

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