FBI Releases Footage of Navy Yard Shooter

The FBI has released footage of Aaron Alexis, the contractor and former Navy reservist who went on a shooting spree at Washington's Navy Yard last week, that shows him roaming the halls of Building 197 armed with a shotgun. The bureau also released a slew of new details about Alexis that appear to confirm he was suffering from severe mental illness just prior to the shooting.

The video, which also shows Alexis arriving at the Navy Yard and entering the building, makes for chilling viewing and can be seen here:

In addition to the footage, the FBI also revealed preliminary findings from the investigation into why Alexis carried out the attack. According to the FBI, Alexis believed that he was being controlled by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves and that carrying out the shooting represented a way out for him. "Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this," Alexis wrote in a document that the FBI says it retrieved from his "electronic media." As previously reported, Alexis had etched the words "My ELF weapon!"on the side of his shotgun, which is believed to be a reference to these electromagnetic waves. The FBI also released images of the gun, including close-ups of the etching:

Alexis also scratched the phrase "end to the torment!" on the gun's barrel:

Investigators also released a timeline of the shooting that indicates it took just over an hour for law enforcement to shoot and kill Alexis after he began opening fire on the occupants of building 197:

  • 7:53 a.m. - Alexis' rental car, a blue Toyota Prius with New York plates, entered Parking Garage #28 at the Washington Navy Yard, located directly across from Building #197.
  • 8:08 a.m. - Alexis exited Parking Garage #28 on foot carrying a backpack. Alexis entered Building #197 and proceeded to the elevator.
  • 8:09 a.m. - Alexis exited the elevator on the fourth floor and entered the men's bathroom carrying a backpack and a clipboard.
  • 8:15 a.m. - Alexis crossed the hallway into the 4 West area of Building #197 with shotgun, but without the backpack or a clipboard.
  • 8:16 a.m. - Alexis shot the first victim in the 4 West area of Building #197.
  • 8:17 a.m. - First 911 call is received from the fourth floor of Building #197.
  • 8:20 a.m. - Alexis left the fourth floor using the stairs and entered the third floor.
  • 8:28 a.m. - Alexis appeared on the first floor.
  • 8:57 a.m. - Alexis returned to the third floor.
  • 9:25 a.m. - Law enforcement shoot and kill Alexis on the third floor.

The timeline of the shooting, together with the surveillance footage, raises questions about why it took police so long to reach Alexis. Note that the FBI's timeline does not provide any information on exactly when Alexis shot his other victims -- information that, if provided, would help determine whether a speedier police response could have saved lives. In its statement, the FBI does not specify whether the surveillance cameras from which the footage is drawn were being actively monitored.

Nonetheless, the FBI believes that Alexis acted alone and that he was not targeting specific individuals.



Don't Worry, BlackBerry. Indonesia Still Loves You.

The tentative $4.7 billion deal to take BlackBerry private may have only been announced on Monday, but for many Americans it was a long time coming. In the United States and Western Europe, Apple's iPhone and Google's Android have come to dominate the smartphone market, while Blackberry has been lapping up less than 2 percent of the American market and has seen its share European markets decline steadily over the years. But there are some corners of the world where BlackBerry's fall may come as more of a shock -- particularly in the emerging economies of Southeast Asia, where BlackBerry has its strongest market presence, or in the several African and Latin American nations where it remains the top smartphone. Here are some of the countries where the BlackBerry still enjoys superstar status.

Indonesia: Smartphone users in Indonesia represent almost 20 percent of BlackBerry users worldwide -- no small feat given that only one in five Indonesians had a cell phone five years ago. BlackBerry's market share jumped from 9 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2011 in Indonesia -- while dropping from 53 percent to 13 percent in the United States over the same period. While the company is losing ground, especially to cheaper local and Chinese brands, a BlackBerry is still considered a status symbol in Indonesia. Last year, a 28-year-old customer service technician from Jakarta told Bloomberg Businessweek he took out a loan from his employer to buy a $440 BlackBerry phone. He made only $160 a month.

Nigeria: Roughly a sixth of Africa's 620 million phone subscribers are Nigerians, but in a country where most people live on $2 a day, the vast majority of them still use cheap Nokias. Of Nigeria's four million smartphone users, 46 percent preferred BlackBerry in 2012. As in Indonesia, BlackBerrys have become status symbols in the country, even becoming the focus of a Nigerian movie last year called "BlackBerry Babes" about women who woo men into buying them a smartphone.

South Africa: A May 2013 survey in South Africa's Sunday Times found that BlackBerry still ranked as the "coolest" brand among young people in the country. BlackBerry Internet Service, which provides unlimited browsing and unlimited chat through BlackBerry Messenger for a flat rate of around $6 per month, is a key factor behind the smartphone's popularity in South Africa, where it controls 70 percent of the market.

BlackBerry has carved out a robust market presence in these countries (and others in Latin America including Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, and Venezuela) primarily because the sheer price of iPhones and Androids is out of reach for typical consumers. Even the recently released iPhone 5c, which was supposed to appeal to emerging market consumers, comes with a $549 price point -- which analysts expect to rise even further with import taxes.

Under these circumstances, the cheaper BlackBerry -- primarily the Curve models, which can often be bought secondhand for as little as $50 -- has been better equipped to edge out iPhone and Android competition in lower-income countries. Additionally, BlackBerry's messaging system, BBM, is cheaper than a text message, and the BlackBerry's RIM network, offers a more reliable connection in areas with insecure telecommunications infrastructure.

Increasingly, however, BlackBerry's main competitor in emerging markets is not the iPhone or the Android, but rather cheap Chinese smartphones from ZTE and Huawei Technologies that are making serious inroads in African and Asian economies. As it restructures, will BlackBerry focus on regaining U.S. and European market share -- or staving off encroaching competition in the developing countries where it's still king?