- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - The sister of a gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last year says she hopes the families of her brother’s victims are healing.

The Washington Post reports (http://wapo.st/1pXhVR2 ) Naomi Alexis, sister of former Navy reservist and IT contractor Aaron Alexis, told the paper, “The grief I feel for their suffering is palpable. The guilt, at times, paralyzing.”

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting.

The paper says Naomi Alexis initially agreed to an interview, saying she felt it was time to talk about her brother and the mental health issues his killings raised. But the paper says she cancelled the interview and her willingness to answer questions was reduced to a few brief phone calls, emails and text messages.

“It’s very scary for me now that the time has come,” the paper said she wrote in an email explaining her change of heart. “I don’t want to feel out of control. People died. There’s a tremendous amount of grief and pain wrapped up in all of this.”

She wrote to the paper that she has been stigmatized as a result of her brother’s actions.

“I’ve had people stop returning emails, phone calls once they Googled my name,” she wrote in an email.

After Aaron Alexis’ name became public last year, reporters tried to speak with his mother at her home in Brooklyn, New York. At the time, she made only a brief remark.

“I don’t know why he did what he did and I’ll never be able to ask him why. Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that I am glad,” his mother Cathleen Alexis said in a statement. “To the families of the victims, I am so so very sorry that this has happened. My heart is broken.”

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