Two with NC ties killed in Navy Yard rampage
Posted September 17, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — Two of the victims in Monday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., had ties to North Carolina.
Mary DeLorenzo Knight, 51, of Reston, Va., grew up in the Fayetteville area, where her mother and father still live. John Roger Johnson, 73, owned a home in Nags Head and has family in Durham.
Knight and Johnson worked at the Navy Yard and were among the 12 people killed when, authorities say, Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old defense contract employee and former Navy reservist, opened fire inside Building 197 Monday morning.
At least 14 others were injured. Alexis was killed in a gunfight with police.
Knight, born in Germany, was one of three daughters of a former Green Beret instructor who served at the Fort Bragg Army installation.
She attended Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville and reportedly attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied computer science.
Knight was also a part-time instructor of information technology at the Annandale and Loudon campuses of Northern Virginia Community College, a school spokeswoman said.
Her mother, Lilly DeLorenzo, last spoke to her Sunday night in a brief conversation. Knight said she was liking her job as an information technology specialist at the Navy Yard and was still glowing from watching her daughter recently get married.
"She was happy with life, and now this," DeLorenzo said. "I don't know what to tell you. I'm still in shock. I'm still in shock."
Johnson's family is also struggling to make sense of the senseless.
"We're kind of in a state of shock right," said Reid Churchill, Johnson's brother-in-law. "You see these newscasts that are broadcast every evening and you're kind of shielded from it because it never really hits home."
Churchill said Johnson loved his job as a logistics analyst at the Navy Yard and enjoyed going fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.
U.S. and North Carolina flags on government buildings have been ordered to fly at half-staff until Sunday in tribute to her and Monday's other victims.
It's still unclear what drove Alexis to carry out the attack — the deadliest mass shooting on a military installation in the U.S. since the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.
U.S. law enforcement authorities, however, say he acted alone and had valid security clearance to get onto the installation.
Described as a Buddhist convert, Alexis reportedly suffered numerous mental problems, including paranoia and sleep disorder.
U.S. law enforcement officials have said that he had been hearing voices and was undergoing treatment in the weeks before the rampage.