Navy Yard Shooting Lawsuit Moved out of Florida
CCTV footage of Aaron Alexis on September 16, 2013
photo: United States Department of the Navy (CCTV), FBI via Wikimedia Commons
The lawsuit filed by the family of Florida resident Mary DeLorenzo Knight, one of the victims slain by Aaron Alexis during the Washington Navy Yard massacre in 2013, has been ordered out of Florida by a federal judge.
The suit, filed in December 2013, alleges negligence by the government.
Alexis, who had been contracted by Fort Lauderdale-based The Experts Inc., had access to the building in the Naval Yard in Washington D.C. On September 16, Alexis shot and killed DeLorenzo and twelve others before he was killed during a standoff with police.
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DeLorenzo Knight's sister, Patricia DeLorenzo, filed the lawsuit against the government in Tampa, but U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday ordered it transferred out of the state to Washington, D.C. since the shooting took place there. DeLorenzo's suit argues that, prior to the shootings, Alexis had been behaving erratically, but that The Experts Inc. failed to report his behavior to the U.S. Navy.
DeLorenzo's family is the first of the victims' families to come forth with a lawsuit of this kind since the tragedy, saying that the government also failed to give Alexis -- who suffered from mental problems -- the proper security clearance.
The suit claims the VA never treated Alexis's mental illness when he was admitted to a VA E.R. for insomnia a month before the shootings. He had also been arrested multiple times for post-traumatic stress disorder, anger management and alcohol abuse.
Alexis was on a team that was upgrading computers. People he worked with had reportedly expressed concerns about his job performance. He had been arrested three times prior to the day of the shooting, including a month before the incident. When arrested, Alexis told cops that he was being controlled by low frequency radio waves. Police reportedly notified Newport Navy personnel about this.
Yet, Alexis was granted a secret security clearance that allowed him to re-enter the Navy Yard anyway.
But Judge Merryday ruled that, while Alexis displayed "psychotic" behavior outside the D.C. area, the DeLorenzo lawsuit failed to show that any relevant acts occurred in Florida. The ruling also says that "correct resolution of Delorenzo's claims requires careful and correct analysis of the law of the District of Columbia."
The judge also points out that should this case goes to trial, more witnesses will be found in the D.C. area, and that a D.C. judge will have greater subpoena power locally.
The original lawsuit pointed out several multi-million dollar contracts The Experts, Inc. has had with the U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
The suit also names the U.S. Navy, the Department of Veterans Affairs and two defense contractors as defendants. The family has been seeking $37.5 million in damages.
The United States was also listed as another defendant in the original suit, but that count has since been dismissed.
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