By Todd Richissin and Shaun Courtney
Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter who killed 12 people before being killed himself, bought the weapon he began his shooting rampage with legally in Virginia, the FBI said Tuesday.
At a news conference in front of the FBI's Washington Field Office, Valerie Parlave, the assistant FBI director in charge of the D.C. field office, told reporters that Alexis had been staying in at least one area hotel in the days before he arrived in the Washington area, believed to be about Aug. 25.
Parlave said media reports that said Alexis was armed with an AR-15 appear to be incorrect. Alexis entered Building 197 with a legitimate pass, she said, and may have secured a handgun during the chaos of the shooting.
Metropolitan police officers arrived at the scene within two minutes of the initial call, D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said. Alexis was killed between 30 minutes and an hour later after "multiple engagements," said D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier.
Officials, meanwhile, have completed the task of notifying the families of the dozen people killed in the attacks. The victims of the Navy Yard shooting included at least four people from Virginia.
Metropolitan Police Officer Scott Williams, one of the people injured during the attacks, is doing well and in good spirits, Chief Lanier said.
Lanier said the actions of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies to take down a gunman "determined to kill as many people as posisble" were "heroic."
"There is no doubt in my mind that they saved numerous lives by engaging the way that they did," said Lanier.
Intense focus has been placed on the procedures in place to screen who is entitled to clearance to get into a place like the Navy Yard, which is supposed to be a highly secure workplace for 3,000 people from the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.
Alexis was granted secret security clearance despite misconduct during his time in the Navy Reserves, possible mental health problems and previous run-ins with the law.
When asked about whether funding cuts to federal agencies under sequestration were a factor in the security of the Navy Yard, Michael Monroe, FBI Special Agent in Charge of NCIS, said he could not comment on the security levels.
U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said his office and other law enforcement agencies are working over to answer the lingering questions about how and why the Navy Yard tragedy happened. He said he expects the investigation to take "weeks and months" as they chase down leads and piece together evidence.