Portsmouth, NH asks questions after Navy Yard shooting

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September 17, 2013, 5:58 pm
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(NECN:  Lauren Collins, Portsmouth, NH) - After a previously-scheduled tour of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Tuesday morning, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan said everyone on base is concerned for their colleagues at the Washington Navy Yard.

“...but they are going about their work.  These are professionals.  We are resilient people and we are making sure the shipyard is being as vigilant as it can be.  But they are also very focused at the work at hand," said Hassan.

Work was on everyone's mind at a Hiring our Heroes job fair for veterans just a few miles away.  But there were also plenty of questions, especially for Navy veteran Bill Roy who now works with the American Legion.

“When you see what happened at the Navy Yard, why wasn't there more of an armed presence, more security?  How did they get in there?" asked Roy.

Details continue to emerge on alleged shooter Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist who'd gone to work at the shipyard as a civilian contractor.  

Though the motive for the mass killing remains unknown, the Associated Press reported that he'd sought mental health treatment through the Va. system.

“There were several triggers that probably set him off that went unnoticed and that's a big thing, is to know what those triggers are,” says American Legion Department Service Officer Gary Wayman who helps connect vets and returning service members with Va. care.  

PTSD is one of the most common conditions Wayman sees.  Alexis was not a combat veteran, but Wayman says that doesn't matter.  

“Post-traumatic stress can affect anyone.  It doesn't have to be combat related.  It's just imminent fear or a personal tragedy in your own life.”

Tags: new hampshire, mental health, Portsmouth, Lauren Collins, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, post-traumatic stress, washington navy yard
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