Reed calls for 'systematic review' following Navy Yard shooting
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed told NBC 10 on Thursday that all of the warning signs should have kept a man of going on a shooting rampage that killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.
"The problem is this was not picked up by the Navy and it leads to the issues that (Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel) has pointed out. There has to be a systematic review," said Reed who spoke to NBC 10 from the Capitol.
The Department of Veterans Affairs said 34-year-old Aaron Alexis visited two hospitals in the weeks before the Monday morning rampage but denied that he was depressed or having thoughts of harming himself or others.
Alexis, who died in a police shootout after the rampage, complained of insomnia during an Aug. 23 emergency room visit to the VA Medical Center in Providence. He was given sleep medication and advised to follow up with a doctor. He made a similar visit five days later to the VA hospital in Washington when he again complained of not being able to sleep because of his work scheduled. His medication was refilled.
Alexis appeared "alert and oriented" during the visits and denied feeling depressed or anxious or wanting to do harm, the VA said in a statement.
Two weeks before his ER visit, he complained to police in Newport that people were talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his hotel room and sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep. Navy officials said the Newport police reported the incident to officers at the base security office at the Newport Naval Station, but nothing more was done about it because he did not appear to be a threat to himself or anyone else at the time.
Despite the concerns over his mental health and past run-ins with the law, Alexis maintained his security clearance as he arrived in Washington in late August for a job as an information technology employee at a defense-related computer company.
Alexis had been a full-time Navy reservist from 2007 to early 2011, and a Navy spokesman said his security clearance at the "secret level" was good for 10 years from when he got it.
Reed said the shooting should raise questions about the contractor companies and their responsibilities too.
"The secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs made it clear (Wednesday) that they are going to proceed very quickly and very deliberately to get this process moving. And not just to identify problems but to fix the system," Reed said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.