D.C. Mourns Victims Of Navy Yard Shooting

Sep 18, 2013
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Washington, D.C., there was a mix of responses as people gathered throughout the day yesterday to mourn the 12 victims killed in Monday's shooting spree at the Navy Yard. NPR's Sami Yenigun reports.

SAMI YENIGUN, BYLINE: St. Matthew's Cathedral in downtown Washington is a lofty building with golden crusted arches and sprawling portraiture.

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YENIGUN: On Tuesday, Washingtonians gathered here for a noon mass to pray for the victims of the Navy Yard gunman.

RICHARD J. LEWIS: For many of us who may not have family in the area, this is our family. These are the people that we come to, to celebrate with, in good times and in bad.

YENIGUN: Richard J. Lewis was walking out of the service. He's a contract administration who's worked with the Navy in the past. He says he recognized some of the names of the victims from Building 197, and like many in the city, is grieving for those who lost their lives.

LEWIS: It's a help, you know, for us to come together as a community. They had a prayer vigil in Freedom Plaza last night, and then this. And I'm sure there'll be others.

YENIGUN: Earlier in the day, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid a wreath at a service held at the Navy Memorial. Bill Mansfield of neighboring Alexandria, Virginia was walking by and expressed the feeling shared by many.

BILL MANSFIELD: I reckon there's only one or two reactions you can have to what happened yesterday, and mine is that it was a really awful, needless loss of life.

YENIGUN: Christina Gaddis works at a Starbucks just blocks from where the shooting took place. She had a slightly different reaction.

CHRISTINA GADDIS: It keeps happening. Like, the D.C. sniper, then, of course, 9-11, the attacks, which were pretty close.

YENIGUN: She says that Monday's shooting was scary.

GADDIS: Plus, being in the nation's capital, safety is one of my biggest concerns, because we're a target.

YENIGUN: But not everyone felt less safe on Tuesday. In fact, many around the Navy Yard said that the increased police presence made them feel safer. Dennis O'Conner was outside of the Nationals ballpark, excited to catch the game that had been postponed the night before.

DENNIS O'CONNER: You know, I think safety is a state of mind, and I don't think you can walk around being fearful.

YENIGUN: Around the stadium, American flags flew at half-staff, and before the game, National players wore Navy caps in honor of the victims and their families. Sami Yenigun, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.