In the final months of his life, Aaron Alexis complained of hearing voices talking to him through a wall and of microwave vibrations that he said entered his body and prevented him from sleeping. His delusional belief that he was being bombarded by extremely low-frequency radio waves escalated to the point that, before embarking on a murderous rampage that killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, he left behind this note:
“Ultra-low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this,” read an electronic document FBI agents recovered after the shooting.
The FBI revealed that note from Alexis on Wednesday, along with peculiar notations on the shotgun he used, as evidence of a man in the throes of profound paranoia and delusions. Investigators have found no evidence that the September 16 shooting was inspired by a workplace conflict, saying he picked his victims at random and appears to have been driven by an unchecked mental illness.
The attack, which ended with Alexis shot dead by a police officer, came one month after he complained to police in Rhode Island that people were talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his hotel room and sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep. His shotgun, which he purchased two days before the shooting from a gun shop in Virginia, was etched with messages including “My ELF Weapon!” — an apparent reference to extremely low-frequency waves — and “End to The Torment!”
The ELF frequency range has historically been used for submarine communications, but some conspiracy theorists believe it allows for government monitoring and mind control of citizens, said Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office.
Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy reservist and computer technician for a government contractor, used a valid badge to get into the Navy Yard, entered a fourth-floor bathroom with a bag and emerged with a Remington shotgun with a sawed-off barrel and stock. He killed 12 workers, civilian employees and contractors ranging in age from 46 to 73, before being killed by a U.S. Park Police officer during a rampage and shootout that lasted more than an hour, the FBI said.
“There are indicators that Alexis was prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions,” Parlave said.
Surveillance video released by the FBI on Wednesday shows Alexis pulling his rental car into a garage, entering the building with a bag and then moving through a corridor with the shotgun, ducking and crouching around a corner and walking briskly down a flight of stairs. The video does not show the shots he fired.