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A member of the US Secret Service Uniform Division guards as the national flag flies half-mast on the roof of the White House on September 17, 2013 a day after deadly Navy Yard shooting in Washington, DC. Investigators on Tuesday tried to piece together what led a former US Navy reservist to open fire at a Washington base, killing 12 people before being gunned down by police. Police identified the gunman as Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas, who served in the Navy from 2007 to 2011 before becoming a defense subcontractor for computer giant Hewlett-Packard.
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Brittany Carter, of Bowie, MD., (L) Jibri Johnson, of Landon, MD., (C) and Bryan Beard of Washington D.C. hold candles in remembrance of people affected by gun violence during a vigil at Freedom Plaza on September 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. The vigil, during which organizers called for stricter gun laws, was in remembrance of the 12 victims killed in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard earlier in the day.
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Brittany Carter holds a candle in remembrance of people affected by gun violence during a vigil at Freedom Plaza on September 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. The vigil, during which organizers called for stricter gun laws, was in remembrance of the 12 victims killed in a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard earlier in the day.
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Two men embrace at a gathering point for family members of Navy Yard employees that was set up inside Nationals Park in the wake of the shooting September 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. Police believe at least one gunman shot and killed at least 12 people and wounded others in an incident that put parts of the city on lockdown.
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A woman wrapped in a Red Cross blanket leaves a gathering point for reuniting family members of Navy Yard employees that was set up inside Nationals Park in the wake of the shooting September 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. Police believe at least one gunman shot and killed at least 12 people and wounded others in an incident that put parts of the city on lockdown.
A dozen people died in a shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard. It was the deadliest attack at a domestic military installation since November 2009, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas. Early Tuesday, the stories of those who died began to surface.
Vishnu Pandit, 61, had lived in North Potomac, Md., for at least 20 years, The Post reports.
A neighbor tells the newspaper they saw many cars arrive at the Pandit family's house late Monday. Another neighbor, Mike Honig, described Pandit as "a very nice man with an Irish setter," The Post says.
Few other details have emerged about Pandit. His family has elected not to comment publicly at this point.
John Roger Johnson, 73, was a longtime resident of Derwood, Md., a neighbor tells The Post, who loved kids.
A friend and former co-worker, William Venable, tells NPR's Hansi Lo Wang that Johnson, or J.J., was his colleague in the IT department, doing things like distributing cellphones and wireless cards. The job could be tedious — but every day, Venable said, Johnson greeted him with the same enthusiasm.
"His greeting to me — every day, religiously — was, 'How ya doin' buddy?!' "
"I'm a 20-something-year-old black man, and he's a 70-plus-year-old white guy," Venable says. "You know, we had zero in common. But we had great conversations, and he was a great spirit; it was a spirit that you could connect with. He was one of my best friends in that place."
Frank Kohler, 50, of St. Mary's County, Md., also died in Monday's attack.
"Kohler, 50, of Tall Timbers was reportedly married with two daughters," reports The Baynet.com. "It is not known at this time what he was doing at the Navy Yard."
Arthur Daniels, 51, of southeast Washington, D.C., saw the attack underway Monday and attempted to get to safety, according to a witness. But he was shot in the back after waiting for an elevator door to open, reports The Post, citing a man who worked with Daniels.
Daniels had worked as a sub-contractor, moving and installing furniture in government buildings; his job took him to the Navy Yard on Monday, The Post says, citing an interview with family members and others. The newspaper says Daniels had five children and nine grandchildren.
"I don't know why they shot him," Priscilla Daniels said of her husband. "He was a good father and hard worker."
Michael Arnold, 59, of Lorton, Va., was a Navy veteran and avid pilot who was building a light airplane at his home, said his uncle, Steve Hunter.
"It would have been the first plane he ever owned," Hunter said in a telephone interview from Rochester, Mich., Arnold's hometown. "It's partially assembled in his basement."
Hunter said his nephew retired from the Navy as a commander or lieutenant commander and had previously been stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He worked at the Navy Yard on a team that designed vessels such as the USS Makin Island, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship used by the Marine Corps.
Arnold and his wife, Jolanda, had been married for more than 30 years, Hunter said. They had two grown sons, Eric and Christopher.
Hunter said Arnold returned to Michigan for Labor Day to visit his 80-year-old mother, Patricia.
"He was a loving son of his mother and his wife, and great father to his kids," said Hunter. "It's tragic. How can you get up in the morning and go to work and have that happen? How do bad things like that happen to good people?"
Sylvia Frasier, 53, had worked at Naval Sea Systems Command as an information assurance manager since 2000, according to a LinkedIn profile in her name.
Frasier studied at Strayer University, earning a bachelor of science in computer information systems in 2000 and a master's in information systems in 2002. Her duties at NAVSEA included providing policy and guidance on network security, and assuring that all computer systems operated by the headquarters met Department of Navy and Department of Defense requirements.
She also led efforts "to establish and implement procedures to investigate security violations or incidents," according to the profile.
Her brother, James Frasier, declined comment Monday night.
Kathleen Gaarde, 63, of Woodbridge, Va., was a financial analyst who supported the organization responsible for the shipyards, her husband, Douglass, wrote in an email to the AP early Tuesday.
Douglass Gaarde declined to speak, but wrote that he was unable to sleep.
"Today my life partner of 42 years (38 of them married) was taken from me, my grown son and daughter, and friends," he wrote. "We were just starting to plan our retirement activities and now none of that matters. It hasn't fully sunk in yet but I know I already dearly miss her."
Madelyn Gaarde, of Grand Junction, Colo., who's married to Douglass Gaarde's brother, said her sister- and brother-in-law met while he was studying electrical engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Douglass Gaarde, an Illinois native, also worked for the Navy until his retirement last year, his sister-in-law said.
"She was a very gracious person and very welcoming," she said of Kathleen Gaarde.
Kenneth Proctor, 46, worked as a civilian utilities foreman at the Navy Yard, his ex-wife, Evelyn Proctor, said. He spent 22 years working for the federal government, Evelyn Proctor said.
The Waldorf, Md., woman spoke to Kenneth early Monday morning before he left for work at the Navy Yard. It was his regular call. The high school sweethearts talked every day, even after they divorced this year after 19 years of marriage, and they shared custody of their two teenage sons.
She was in shock about her ex-husband's death.
"He just went in there in the morning for breakfast," Proctor said Monday night of the building where the shooting took place. "He didn't even work in the building. It was a routine thing for him to go there in the morning for breakfast, and unfortunately it happened."
Proctor said she tried to call her ex-husband throughout the day and drove to the Navy Yard on Monday afternoon, fearing the worst. After waiting for about three hours alongside other relatives concerned about their loved ones, she was informed around 8 p.m. that he was among the dead. Officials did not detail the circumstances of his shooting, she said.
The Proctors married in 1994 and divorced this year. Their older son, Kenneth Proctor Jr., 17, enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school this spring and is in basic training in Oklahoma. Their younger son, Kendull Proctor, is 15.
"We were still very close. It wasn't a bitter divorce," Evelyn Proctor said. "We still talked every day, and we lived 10 minutes away from each other."
Kenneth Proctor was born and raised in Charles County, Md., where he lived until his death.
"He loved the Redskins. Loved his kids — a very loving, caring, gentle person. His kids meant a lot to him," Evelyn Proctor said.
Police in Washington have released the names of seven of the 12 victims killed in Monday's shooting rampage at Washington Navy Yard.
Other victims included:
- Gerald L. Read, 58, of Alexandria, Va.
- Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, Md.
- Martin Bodrog, 54, of Annandale, Va.
- Mary Francis Knight, 51, of Reston, Va.
Associated Press writers Amanda Kell, Ben Nuckols and Allen G. Breed contributed to this report.
This story has been updated.