Navy Yard Shooter Had Been Treated for Mental Health Problems, But Bought Gun Legally

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A mug of Aaron Alexis, arrested in September, 2010, on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city limits.
Fort Worth Police Department / AP

A mug of Aaron Alexis, arrested in September, 2010, on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city limits.

Updated 3:50pm

U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday morning that the gunman in yesterday’s deadly shooting had been treated for various mental health issues, including paranoia and hearing voices.

Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard before he was shot and killed by law enforcement officers, has been treated for his mental problems at the Veterans Association since August, the AP reports. 

The Navy had not declared Alexis mentally unfit, which enabled him to maintain the security clearance he obtained while previously serving in the Navy Reserves. Had he been declared mentally unfit, his security clearance would have been rescinded.

Alexis was also able to legally purchase a shotgun in Lorton, VA last week, according to The Wall Street Journal. His history of mental illness did not prevent him from purchasing a gun. In VA, people with history of mental illness can purchase guns unless a court has declared them mentally unfit or they have been involuntarily committed to a hospital. A mental illness diagnosis or voluntary commitment are not enough to disqualify a potential gun buyer.

Family members also confirmed to investigators that Alexis was struggling with mental health problems.

[AP]

 

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