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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

The FBI said Tuesday that it has no information at this point indicating Aaron Alexis, the Navy contractor identified as the gunman who killed 12 people Monday at the Washington, DC Navy Yard, was in possession of an AR-15 assault rifle.

Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said in a news conference that Alexis entered the Navy Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) building with a shotgun and may have obtained a handgun once inside the facility.

Parlave added that the FBI determined Alexis arrived in the metro area on or around Aug. 25 and stayed in local hotels. Alexis was most recently known to have stayed at a Residence Inn in Southwest Washington starting on Sept. 7, she said.

A Brazilian newspaper reported Tuesday that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has cancelled a state visit to Washington, DC in October.

Rousseff was reportedly angered by media reports that the United States spied on her and other Brazilians' personal communications. O Globo newspaper said Rousseff was not swayed to go forward with the meeting by a 20-minute phone call from President Barack Obama Monday night, giving no source for the information, according to Reuters.

The White House confirmed the two presidents agreed to the cancellation in a statement issued Tuesday. 

"The President has said that he understands and regrets the concerns disclosures of alleged U.S. intelligence activities have generated in Brazil and made clear that he is committed to working together with President Rousseff and her government in diplomatic channels to move beyond this issue as a source of tension in our bilateral relationship," the statement read.

"President Obama and President Rousseff both look forward to the State Visit, which will celebrate our broad relationship and should not be overshadowed by a single bilateral issue, no matter how important or challenging the issue may be," the statement continued.  "For this reason, the presidents have agreed to postpone President Rousseff’s State Visit to Washington scheduled for October 23."

Aaron Alexis' employer told the Washington Post Tuesday that the military never disclosed the man's police reports to his company.

Thomas Hoshko, chief executive officer of Navy subcontractor The Experts, said he never would have hired the man who killed 12 people at the Washington, DC Navy Yard if he had known about Alexis' record.

“If I can find this out just by doing a Google search, that is sad,” Hoshko told the Post. “Anything that suggest criminal problems or mental health issues, that would be a flag. We would not have hired him.”

Hoshko said he was disturbed by media reports of Alexis' run-in with police in Fort Worth, Texas in 2010. He was arrested for allegedly shooting a bullet into the apartment of the woman who lived upstairs from him.

He also told the newspaper that his company relies on the military to vet its employees for security clearances.

“None of this was made aware to us or to the company,” he said. “If there’s not full disclosure on this, how do they expect us to make good decisions about who to trust and hire.”

The gunman who killed 12 people and wounded several others Monday at the Washington, DC Navy Yard was honorably discharged from the Navy Reserve in 2011 despite several infractions, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The deceased gunman, identified as contractor Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Texas, served as an aviation electrician's mate third class from 2007 to early 2011, according to military records.

A Navy official told the Post that Alexis had at least eight infractions, including showing up late for work, insubordination and disorderly conduct. The official, who spoke anonymously in order to discuss the gunman's personnel record, added that Alexis was given an administrative sanction after being arrested in 2008 in Georgia.

That official explained to the Post that the Navy Reserves intended to remove Alexis with a general discharge, but because that removal was slow to proceed, Alexis was granted a request to leave the service in early 2011 with an honorable discharge.

The official corrected the Navy's previous description of how Alexis separated from the service. A Navy official had told the Post on Monday that Alexis was given a "general discharge," which the military often uses to designate a "blemished record of performance," as the Post pointed out.

The Los Angeles Times and CBS News also reported Monday that Alexis was discharged for a "pattern of misconduct."

Washington, DC police late Monday released the names of seven of the 12 victims killed by a gunman at the Navy Yard earlier that morning, the Associated Press reported.

The seven victims were identified as:

Michael Arnold, 59

Sylvia Frasier, 53

Kathy Gaarde, 62

John Roger Johnson, 73

Frank Kohler, 50

Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46

Vishnu Pandit, 61

A Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing on "stand your ground" laws scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed in the wake of the Washington, DC Navy Yard Shooting, Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-IL) office announced Monday.

"In light of today’s tragic shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., tomorrow’s hearing on stand your ground laws has been postponed to a later date," Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman said in an emailed statement.

Among the witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing was Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. A new date for the hearing has not yet been set.

Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray said in his third press conference of the day Monday that 13 people were dead in the Navy Yard shooting, including the gunman.

He added that police were still looking for an African-American male about 50 years old wearing an olive drab military-style uniform with graying sideburns. But authorities had not said what, if any, role the man may have played in the shooting.

Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, confirmed that the deceased gunman was identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas.

See photos of Alexis here.

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