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Maryland Reacts to Navy Yard Tragedy, 6 Victims Had Maryland Ties

Officials and citizens said they were stunned in the aftermath of the incident.

The American flag flies at half-staff above the White House Tuesday morning after President Barack Obama made the proclamation to honor the victims of the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The American flag flies at half-staff above the White House Tuesday morning after President Barack Obama made the proclamation to honor the victims of the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

At least six of the 13 victims of Monday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard had Maryland ties, police announced, as officials and residents stopped to contemplate another mass loss of life at the hands of a gunman.

The names of some of the victims have been released: Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73; Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46; and Vishnu Pandit, 61, The Washington Post reports.

Pandit was from North Potomac and Johnson lived in Derwood for more than 30 years; Frasier and Proctor were from Charles County; Kohler was from St. Mary's County, The Post reports.

Former Maryland State Police officer Richard Michael Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, was later identified as a victim.

President Obama, who called the shooting "cowardly,” has ordered that flags fly at half staff until sunset Friday.

“These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job, protecting all of us,” Obama said. “They’re patriots, and they know the dangers of serving abroad—but today, they faced unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home.”

Maryland lawmakers also condemned the shooting, attributed by officials to Aaron Alexis, 34, a Navy veteran and contractor who reportedly entered the Navy Yard using another person's identification badge.

“Yesterday, Maryland and our nation witnessed a senseless act of violence in neighboring Washington, D.C.," said Gov. Martin O'Malley in a statement. "Our hearts and prayers are with the victims -- including six Maryland residents -- and their loved ones."

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, called for justice.

“An attack on the people tasked with keeping this nation safe is beyond unacceptable,” Cardin said in a statement. “While we are still waiting to for a better understanding of the events to emerge, it is my hope that all those who were responsible will be brought to justice.”

Rep. John Delaney, D-MD, also expressed his sadness.

“Today’s raw suffering will not quickly fade,” Delaney said in a statement. “As a country, we join in prayer for the victims and their families. The words of ‘The Navy Hymn’ are fitting against tonight’s bleak sundown, ‘Eternal Father … Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee!’”

In Montgomery County, the Gaithersburg and Rockville City Councils began their meetings Monday night with a moment of silence. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker also issued a statement.

“The stories, accounts and images from today’s horrible event will be forever etched in our minds,” Baker said. “As the days go by we will learn how this tragedy occurred, but we will struggle with reconciling why.” 

O'Malley noted that Maryland State Police helicopters assisted with medical evacuations at the scene.

"We stand ready to support our neighbors in the ongoing investigation and recovery,” he added.

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