Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis left a note saying he was driven to kill by months of bombardment with extremely low-frequency radio waves, the FBI said Wednesday in a disclosure that explains the phrase he etched on his shotgun: “My ELF Weapon!”
Alexis did not target particular individuals during the Sept. 16 attack in which he killed 12 people, and there is no indication the shooting stemmed from any workplace dispute, said Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office. Instead, authorities said, his behavior in the weeks before the shooting and evidence recovered from his hotel room, backpack and other belongings reveal a man increasingly in the throes of paranoia and delusions.
“Ultra-low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this,” read an electronic document agents recovered after the shooting.
The attack came a month after Alexis had complained to police in Rhode Island 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.
On his shotgun, he had scrawled “My ELF Weapon!” — an apparent reference to extremely low-frequency waves — along with “End to the Torment!” “Not what yall say” and “Better off this way,” the FBI said.
Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist and computer technician for a government contractor, used a valid badge to get into the Navy Yard and opened fire inside a building with the Remington shotgun, which he had legally purchased in Virginia two days earlier. He also used a 9mm handgun that he took from a security guard, a weapon found near Alexis’ body. He was killed in the building by a U.S. Park Police officer after a rampage and shootout with police that the FBI said lasted more than an hour.
Surveillance video released by the FBI on Wednesday shows Alexis pulling his rental car into a garage, walking into the building with a bag and then skulking down a corridor with a shotgun, ducking and crouching around a corner and walking briskly down a flight of stairs. The video does not show him actually shooting anyone.
A time line issued by the FBI shows Alexis started the rampage on the building’s fourth floor and then moved down to the third and first floors.
He ultimately returned to the third floor, where he was killed about 9:25 a.m.