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Family of Navy Yard victim seeks damages from Navy, VA

Nov. 8, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY Staff writer   |   Comments

The family of a federal employee killed in the Washington Navy Yard shootings two months ago has filed a $37.5 million wrongful death claim against the Navy and the Veterans Affairs Department.

The Navy was negligent in allowing the shooter, Aaron Alexis, into the Navy Yard complex Sept. 16, according to the administrative claim filed Friday by the sister and daughters of Mary Knight, a Naval Sea Systems Command cybersecurity expert who was among a dozen people gunned down by Alexis before he was killed by police.

VA failed to recognize that Alexis, a former Navy reservist who was honorably discharged, posed “an unreasonable risk of harm to others” when it released him from a medical center in August after he reported psychotic episodes and sleep deprivation, the claim says.

The claim, brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act, asks the government to conduct a full investigation and determine the two agencies’ alleged negligence led to Knight’s death.

At the time of the shootings, Alexis was cleared to work at the Navy Yard as an employee of The Experts, a Florida-based information technology firm that was a subcontractor to Hewlett-Packard.

Alexis held a secret security clearance, despite a 2010 arrest after firing a gun through his apartment ceiling and telling Newport, R.I., police in August that he was hearing voices.

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