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Victims Of Navy Yard Shooting Are Being Identified

Sep 17, 2013
Originally published on September 17, 2013 7:38 am
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And the shooter is known to have been, as we've just reported, a former Navy reservist. But DC's police chief did say yesterday that no active duty servicemembers were killed, no one in uniform. The dead included contractors and civilians, apparently. And to learn more now about those victims of yesterday's shooting, we turn to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang.

And what are you hearing from the people for whom this is a personal tragedy - that is, those who knew one or more of these victims?

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: Well, I spoke with William Venable. He knew the oldest victim we know of so far, John Roger Johnson, age 73. But William Venable knew him as J.J. They worked together in the wireless department in Building 197. They were IT guys, distributed cell phones, wireless Internet cards to staff. And William Venable, he called this, you know, tedious work, but he said J.J. always did it with a smile.

WILLIAM VENABLE: You know, he didn't greet you like standard issue, hey, how's it going, or the head nod. His greeting to me, every day, religiously, was how you doing, buddy? And he said it just like that.

WANG: So William Venable, he worked at the Navy Yard for about two years and that's about how long he knew John Roger Johnson. He left last year, but he still remembers his friend J.J. He says they had a really unlikely friendship.

VENABLE: I'm, you know, a 20-something year old black man and he's a 70-plus-year-old white guy, you know. We had zero in common, but we had conversations and he was a great spirit; it was a spirit you could connect with. Like, he was one of my best friends in that place.

WANG: Again, just one voice of someone remembering one of the victims, William Venable, who knew John Roger Johnson.


One of a dozen shooting victims here, a dozen people killed. What else do you know about some of the other people?

WANG: Like you said, we know there are 12 confirmed dead and seven of those names were released late last night, ID'd through Metropolitan Police Department. As of last night, they were still notifying five remaining families. We know that the victims, their ages range from ages 46 to 73 and that all of them are either civilians or military contractors, one of them a D.C. resident, the others from the Metro area in Maryland and Virginia.

MONTAGNE: What about the families? Obviously you reach out to the families to find out more about victims. What do you know of how they are doing?

WANG: Right. Well, some of the families we reached out to, they declined phone interviews. Obviously they are still grieving. But I did speak to one mother of Kenneth Bernard Proctor. He was age 46. I spoke with his mother Judy, who was still in shock. She had just spoken with him the day before the shooting and she said it felt like, just like any other conversation.

He was telling jokes. She says she really just wanted people to remember that he was a great father to his two teenage sons.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Hansi Lo Wang, thanks very much.

WANG: Thank you, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Hansi has been reporting on the victims of yesterday's shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.