An Alabama man has claimed that he and his family harassed by Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis at a Virginia airport last month.
Michael Boyd, 52, told the Associated Press that he and his family encountered Alexis at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia on Aug. 4. Alexis reportedly began shouting at Boyd’s family from 40 yards away while they waited to board a flight. Boyd says that Alexis accused him and his family of laughing at him, which the family denied.
Alexis shouted obscenities at Boyd and his family for some time, but did not become violent.
Boyd says that while he initially considered fighting Alexis, he instead called a security guard over to deal with the situation, but that the guard did little to prevent Alexis from harassing his family.
“He was kind of bold, the way he came up on us,” Boyd said. “He had the devil on him.”
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Steven Sterling, director of operations at Norfolk International, confirmed to the AP that an incident similar to the one described by Boyd did occur on Aug. 4, but that the report did not mention Alexis by name. He also stated that no video surveillance footage of the confrontation exists.
As more details about Alexis’ strained mental state emerge, Navy officials have questioned why he was allowed to keep his security credentials that allowed him access to the Navy Yards.
"Investigators are looking at this background very carefully. We in the Navy are also taking a look at his time and service in the Navy to see if there is anything that we missed that maybe we need to have addressed a little bit differently," Rear Admiral John Kirby stated.
The Defense Department has voiced similar concerns. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the Pentagon will conduct a thorough search to find what went unnoticed when dealing with Alexis prior to the shooting.
“Why they didn't get picked up, why they didn't get incorporated into the clearance process, what he was doing, those are all legitimate questions that we're going to be dealing with,” Hagel said.