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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where 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 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.

The Washington, DC police chief on Monday described two men authorities were looking for after a shooting incident earlier in the day at the Navy Yard that left at least 12 people dead and others injured. A short time later, police said one of the men had been identified and cleared.

Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters at a news conference that her department had "multiple pieces of information" that suggested two other individuals wearing military-style uniforms were spotted with firearms near the shooting. A gunman had already been confirmed dead, but authorities were investigating the possibility that the others were somehow involved.

Lanier said the first person police were interested in was a white man between 40 and 50 years old, wearing what appeared to be a tan naval uniform with a beret-style hat. But a short time after the news conference, the police department tweeted that the man had been identified and cleared.

She said the second person was a black man between 40 and 50 years old, wearing an olive military-style uniform. He man was about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed 180 pounds and had a medium complexion with graying sideburns.

"We do not know if they are actually military employees," Lanier told reporters. "But these are people that we really are believe that are involved in some way and we're trying to locate those individuals."

FBI officials were taking the lead in the investigation, Lanier said.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said in a news conference that there were 12 people killed in the shooting Monday morning at the Navy Yard. He also told reporters that police "don't know for certain" whether there were other shooters.

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the shooting incident that took place Monday at the Washington, DC Navy Yard, calling it a "tragedy" and acknowledging that the investigation is ongoing.

Biden told the crowd at an event in Charleston, N.C. that although he had been traveling, he was briefed on the incident by the National Security Council and told there may have been more than one shooter. 

"You may know more than I in the last 45 minutes," Biden said. "But this situation is unfolding and we know a tragedy has occurred, and we're thinking about all the people who are there."

Two workers at the Washington, DC Naval Yard told NBC News on Monday that they encountered a gunman who reportedly killed at least four people and injured at least 10 others in a hallway when he silently raised his gun and opened fire on them.

Terrie Durham and Todd Brundivge, civilian co-workers at the Office of Naval Sea System Command, said they were about 40 yards from the gunman but were able to see that he was dressed in blue and carrying a weapon.

"He was a tall man, appeared to have dark skin, looked like he was in some kind of uniform and he had a rifle," Durham told NBC, adding that the stairwell she was standing in was dimly lit and it was difficult to see the gunman's face.

"No words. He raised the gun and started firing," Brundvige recounted. "He said nothing."

The gunman opened fire on Durham and Brundvige, but aimed too high and missed.

"We're lucky he was far enough away he was a bad shot," Durham said.

This post has been updated.

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