A dozen American citizens were shot and killed at their workplace inside the Washington Navy Yard just before 8:30 on Monday morning. Twelve more families affected by a gunman that will now live with the horrific loss of their loves ones resulting from another tragic mass shooting. They were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, and neighbors, ranging in ages from 46 to 73. One, an avid pilot, hoped to complete the partially-assembled airplane in his basement; another was a passionate Washington Capitals hockey fan. One was a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; another a grandfather of nine.
Their lives were all cut short as they reported to work on Monday–just like every other day. Some worked at the site of the shooting–Building 197–whereas others were temporarily visiting.
Authorities have released the names of those 12 innocent civilians:
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46
Frank Kohler, 50
Arthur Daniels, 51
Mary Knight, 51
Richard Michael Ridgell, 52
Sylvia Frasier, 53
Martin Bodrog, 54
Gerald Read, 58
Michael Arnold, 59
Vishnu Shalchendia Pandit, 61
Kathy Gaarde, 62
John Roger Johnson, 73
Here is a glimpse of what family members and friends have said about the 12 lives lost during Monday’s shooting rampage.
Arthur Daniels didn’t usually work inside the Navy Yard; he relocated and installed office furniture in federal government buildings around the metropolitan district, the Washington Post reported. But the 51-year-old of the southeastern region of Washington, D.C., was inside Building 197 Monday morning.
The gunman shot him in the back, a witness told the Post. He had been trying to push an elevator button to escape the shooter, who he saw in the hallway. He was a father of five; a grandfather to nine.
“He has this great personality and is always helping others,” Daniels’ employer, Lewis Yancey II, told the Post. “And I have to wonder if he was doing that when he was shot.”
Sylvia Frasier, 53, never responded to a text – “Are you okay?” – sent by her younger sister on Monday at 9:26 a.m. She was the second-youngest sibling of seven children, who all gathered by about 7 that night at their parents’ home in Lanham, Md., where Frasier was raised, the Post reported. The family, surrounded by their minister, Bibles that lined the bookshelves, and crosses that hung from the walls, listened on edge for a text message, ringing phone–anything–that would deliver some kind of news.
A single woman, she lived in Waldorf, Md. She worked at the Naval Sea Systems Command since 2000, most recently as an enterprise information assurance manager, according to a LinkedIn profile with her name. Part of her past duties included leading “efforts to establish and implement procedures to investigate security violations or incidents.”
She received her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and her master’s in information systems at Strayer University.
Gerald Read left his Alexandria, Va., home early Monday morning to the sound of his wife saying: “See you tonight for dinner.” But for maybe one of the first times, he didn’t return to his wife of 35 years and beloved black Labrador Retriever, Roderick, according to the Post. “Rod was always with him–always,” said his wife, Cathy. They met while he attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The 58-year-old, who spent most of his career working in law enforcement, was most recently employed as a civilian information assurance specialist with the Naval Sea Systems Command. A “Civil War buff,” he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor entered Building 197 not to begin working, but to grab a bite to eat. The 46-year-old Navy Yard civilian utilities foreman frequented the building on a daily basis to buy breakfast, his ex-wife, Evelyn Proctor, told The Associated Press. He had worked for the federal government for more than 20 years.
Despite the high school sweethearts’ divorce earlier this year, the couple continued to talk each day. He loved spending time with their two sons: Kenneth Jr., 17, and Kendull, 15, Proctor told the AP. He graduated from La Plata High School in Maryland, according to his Facebook page, and most recently lived 10 minutes away from his former wife in Waldorf, Md.
“He loved the Redskins. Loved his kids–a very loving, caring, gentle person. His kids meant a lot to him,” Proctor told the wire service about her former husband.
Kathy Gaarde, 62, recently began planning her retirement with her husband, Douglass, of 38 years. But now “none of that matters,” Douglass told the AP. The Gaardes were a couple for 42 years, after meeting while he was studying at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the AP reported. Together they raised a son and a daughter. “It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I know I already dearly miss her,” her husband said.
She was a passionate Washington Capitals fan and a dog owner. The couple lived with their grown daughter in a modest home with a backyard pool in Woodbridge, Va., the Post reported.
Michael Arnold, loved to fly; he was an avid 59-year-old pilot who was in the process of building a light airplane, his uncle, Steve Hunter, told the AP. “It would have been the first plane he ever owned. It’s partially assembled in his basement,” Hunter said.
Originally from Rochester, Mich., and most recently living in Lorton, Va., Arnold worked at the Navy Yard on a team that designed amphibious assault ships. He was married to his wife, Jolanda, for more than 30 years. During that time, the couple had two sons, who are now grown, according to the wire service. He recently visited Michigan to spend time with his 80-year-old mother.
“He was a loving son of his mother and his wife,” Hunter said, “And great father to his kids.”
Mary Knight normally would have been inside Building 197, Theodore Hisey, a family spokesperson, told the Post. But she had not been in contact with her family since Sunday. The 51-year-old mother of two daughters lived in Reston, Va. She worked as an information technology specialist and taught at Northern Virginia Community College, the Post reported.
“Her daughters were her everything,” Hisey told the Post. “They are in their twenties, so it was all about their colleges, their needs.”
Born in Fayetteville, N.C., she also enjoyed working out and was a devoted Catholic.
Vishnu Shalchendia Pandit lived with his wife and Irish setter in the same North Potomac neighborhood in Maryland for at least 20 years, neighbors told the Post.
The 61-year-old was “a very nice man,” a neighbor, Mike Honig, told the newspaper.
Frank Kohler, 50, lived in Tall Timbers, Md., a town located in St. Mary’s County, with his wife and two daughters, a neighbor told the Post.
John Roger Johnson was a 73-year-old civilian who lived in Derwood, Md. He was a “smart man” who worked for the Navy, his neighbor told the Post.
“He always had a smile on his face,” the neighbor said.
Martin Bodrog, 54, of Annandale, Va., was “just a great guy,” who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981, said a classmate, Ret. Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold.
“You spend four years with someone going to a school like that and you really get to learn your classmates,” he said Tuesday on Thomas Roberts. “I just knew him throughout the years, crossed paths here and there professionally. But he is going to be missed.”
Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, Md., was a former Maryland State Police officer who served for at least 17 years on the force, according to the Post’s article. He was the owner of a Facebook account, which he created to please his three daughters.
The gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34, most recently of Fort Worth, Texas, also died during the incident. Officials shot and killed him after he opened fire against law enforcement members. The motive is still unknown.
Of the additional eight people injured in the attack, three suffered gunshot wounds, including a law enforcement official. The other five victims incurred ailments that ranged from extreme stress to various contusions. They are all expected to recover.
Watch a tribute to the 12 victims of the shooting from Martin Bashir: