Two months after 12 people were gunned down in the Washington Navy Yard shooting, a Tampa family has filed a lawsuit against the federal government.
An emotional Patricia Delorenzo, sister of shooting victim Mary Knight, wiped away tears as her attorney explained why they're suing.
"There were 12 people who died," attorney Sidney Matthew said. "They didn't die in vain and we need to do something about this, and we need to do something about it now."
"All of the flaws are just immense, and I just think that they need to relook at what it is that they're doing," Delorenzo said.
Red flag after red flag was ignored, according to the lawsuit filed in Tampa on Wednesday morning. Aaron Alexis was able to get into the Navy Yard with a gun on September 16th, as a result of failures by the government, the lawsuit says.
It alleges that the Navy and Alexis's employers -- Hewlett Packard and a company called The Experts -- should have revoked his security clearance permanently after he reported strange hallucinations to police just a month before the shooting.
"They did not do what they were supposed to do in writing, according to their security protocol and the federal law, which is immediately report that to the Navy, to the commander at base, so that it gets into the system, and so that they immediately revoke his security clearance," Matthew said.
During our interview, for the first time, Patricia Delorenzo watched the surveillance video of Aaron Alexis entering the Navy Yard with a sawed-off shotgun.
"What part of that upsets you?" we asked.
"The fact that he's walking around with a gun like it's a video game trying to shoot people," she said.
The $37-million lawsuit aims to make sure it never happens again.
"It's not about a security clearance. The way to stop these known, active, inside shooters is to make them go through a metal detector," the attorney explained.
A metal detector, they say, could have saved the life of Mary Knight and the 11 others on that fateful September day.
The Department of Defense is investigating the case and will have a full report by the end of this month. Meanwhile, the attorneys hope to try the case in Tampa, but say there's a good chance it could be moved to Washington, D.C.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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