RI cops told Navy shooter was dangerous E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

Let’s hear it for communication! According to the Chicago Tribune, Rhode Island police warned the U.S. Navy last month that Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis had reported "hearing voices." This obviously raises troubling questions about how Alexis got a high-level security clearance at the complex where he went on a shooting rampage.

The Pentagon says it’s reviewing security at military installations.

A recent Defense Department Inspector General's report determined that security lapses that allowed 52 convicted felons to gain access to Navy facilities. Officials claim budget cuts have undermined the vetting of individuals with access to the facility.

It’s not like the Navy didn’t get a heads up on the shooter.

Police in Newport, Rhode Island, were alarmed enough by Alexis' behavior on a business trip there in August that they contacted Navy police.

Alexis told police officers that he believed people were following him and "sending vibrations into his body," according to a Newport police report.

Alexis went on to tell police that he switched hotels on the trip because he heard coming through the floor and the ceiling of his rooms. He told police that the people following him were using "some sort of microwave machine" to prevent him from sleeping.

"Based on the naval base implications and the claim that the involved subject, one (Aaron Alexis) was 'hearing voices,' I made contact with the on-duty Naval Station police," a Newport police officer wrote, adding that he faxed his report of the incident to Navy police.

The Newport police report indicates that Navy police had promised to check if Alexis was in fact a naval base contractor.

Asked for comment, a spokesman said the Navy was “looking into the matter.”

CNN has reported that Alexis had also recently contacted two Veterans Administration hospitals recently and was trying to get some help for what appears to be serious mental illness.

(editor's note: Too often in public safety we hear about incidents that could have turned out better had someone thought to pick up the phone. The Newport PD and the officer that notified Naval authorities about the shooter are to be commended. It's just a shame that the information was not acted on.)

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