This handout photo provided by the FBI shows Aaron Alexis.(Photo: Handout via AP)
NEW YORK (USA TODAY) -- The mother of the man who police say fatally shot 12
people at the Washington Navy Yard expressed sorrow Wednesday for what
her son had done, adding that her "heart is broken."
Alexis released a statement that was read to a CNN reporter who spoke
with her briefly in her Brooklyn apartment. A pastor, Bishop Gerald
Seabrooks, later read the statement to media gathered outside the home.
son Aaron Alexis has murdered 12 people and wounded several others,"
Cathleen Alexis says in the statement. "His actions have had a profound
and everlasting effect on the families of the victims. I don't know why
he did what what he did, and I'll never be able to ask him, why. Aaron
is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone, and for that
I am glad. To the families of the victims, I am so, so very sorry that
this has happened. My heart is broken."
Authorities say Aaron
Alexis, 34, walked into work Monday at the Navy Yard's Building 197,
assembled a shotgun in a men's room and killed 12 people before being
fatally shot by police.
Cathleen Alexis has been holed up in her
apartment with journalists camped outside her home since the tragedy in
Washington. On Wednesday, she broke her silence, agreeing to provide the
Deborah Feyerick, a national correspondent for CNN, said Alexis
choked up at times as she read her statement. Alexis declined to say
when she last spoke to her son, why he may have unleashed such violence
and whether she had thought her son was troubled.
told Feyerick she came home Monday after hearing about the shooting and
hasn't been able to leave since. Some co-workers have reached out to the
mother, but on Wednesday she remained alone in her apartment.
who came to Alexis' home as a member of the Brooklyn Clergy/ NYPD Task
Force, spoke to reporters outside Alexis' home after the statement was
released. He said Alexis was deeply pained by her son's actions and was
focusing on the loss of the victims rather than her son's death.
said that in his NYPD role he often visits families affected by
violence. He and several others have been buying her water and food as
well as comforting her.
"She's very, very sad - under
a lot of stress, a lot of duress," Seabrooks said of Cathleen Alexis.
"She's grieving for this tragedy, for her son as well as the victims.
She's a tremendous woman who is very concerned about the other victims.
She's not even mentioning her son."
Seabrooks added that Alexis didn't discuss any personal information about her son and revealed little about their relationship.
also asked reporters outside the home to give Alexis - and her
neighbors - some space. The street has been filled with news trucks and
journalists since Monday.