The mother of the Washington Navy Yard gunman who killed 12 people before being shot dead by police, said yesterday that she was glad her son was dead.
Speaking for the first time since Aaron Alexis opened fire on colleagues at the naval base, his mother released an emotional apology to the families of her son's victims.
"I don't know why he did what he did, and I'll never be able to ask him.
"Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer harm anyone, and for that I am glad," said Cathleen Alexis, her voice cracking in a brief statement.
"To the families of the victims, I am so, so very sorry that this has happened. My heart is broken."
She spoke after the US military announced an investigation into how Alexis, a navy contractor, was granted security clearance despite a history of severe mental health issues and firing weapons in moments of rage.
Chuck Hagel, the defence secretary, said the security arrangements at American bases worldwide would be examined as well as the process by which contractors were screened.
"Where there are inadequacies, we will address them. And where there are failures, we will correct them," he said.
Only last month Alexis called police in a state of panic, saying that he was being followed by people using a microwave machine to send vibrations through his body.
Although navy officials were informed of the episode, they did not revoke his security clearance and he continued working.
Two days after the massacre, FBI investigators were piecing together the 34-year-old's final movements.
Heavily armed police assault units exchanged fire with him seven times in more than half an hour of running battles. During that time Alexis is believed to have shot a guard and taken his Glock handgun.
In confused scenes, police were unable to hear each other over the building's fire alarms, but eventually cornered Alexis in a third floor office and shot him several times in the head. (© Daily Telegraph, London)