Aaron Alexis Had Cryptic Messages Scrawled on Weapons

More information is revealed as ongoing probe into D.C. Navy Yard shooting continues.
13:01 | 09/19/13

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Transcript for Aaron Alexis Had Cryptic Messages Scrawled on Weapons
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello everyone anti Hernandez in New York is ABC news digital special. Report another discovery about navy yard shooter Aaron Alexis troubled past. Showcasing even more mental health issues and the Pentagon admit admits it missed a lot of signals. ABC's Karen Travers has all the latest on that Washington now Helen care. -- afternoon's -- we're here outside the navy yard where workers came back to work for the first day since Monday's shooting -- many described it as surreal. They also said it was a bit unsettling. Normal operations today but for the thousands of employees here this first -- back after Monday's tragedy will be anything but normal. We're learning about a chilling encounter an Alabama family says they believed they had with Aaron Alexis last month. Linda Boyd told ABC news she was with family at the Norfolk Virginia airport on August 4 175 year old and -- laughed loudly at a joke. Out of nowhere a man who looked like Alexis accused them of laughing -- he started to -- profanity it's this week we recognize. Navy -- shooter stopped his face on the news and and I asked him just going home home. -- -- him investigators are also focus on possible clues that Alexis left on his -- it. ABC news has learned he carved the words better off this way. And my ELF weigh in on the stock of the shot and he used in Monday's massacre. Authorities are trying to determine what those phrases could mean including whether better off this way meant Alexis knew he wouldn't survive the Rampage. There. -- -- Probably multiple triggers. That caused him to decide now's the time I'm I'm going to take this course of action. Thinking about it conceptualize -- it planning in his head. Yesterday depending -- -- red flags or meets the highest responsibilities leaders who have is to take care of the people. Tie that building where the shooting took place building 197. That's still close today. On Monday there will be a memorial service for all of the victims and President Obama will attacks -- -- parent but -- is the Pentagon planning on doing in light of this massacre in response to. -- yesterday secretary of defense -- Cagle said that the military -- -- to the big -- their families as well. All -- the military personnel around the world to correct any failures that -- maybe. Could have led to Monday's tragedy they're gonna look into the security access at all military facilities around the world as well as the security clearance process. Remember Aaron Alexis had a security -- that enabled him to get on to the -- he did not have to force his way in. But now of course they're admitting that there were potential warning signs over the last couple of weeks including that is in Rhode Island where he told. Police there that he was hearing voices -- -- hearing voices in the ceiling. And that was of course flags in navy personnel -- in Rhode Island an of the time they deemed him not a threat so taking on and to account. They're gonna consider whether something could have been done that would have been able to prevent this from weather and on the government for huge tragedies occurring -- Operated -- Karen Travers Washington. Thank you now let's bring -- ABC news Lewis Martinez Louis Martinez at the Pentagon for more on the investigation -- Karen mentioned. That incident at the airport what more can you tell us about it. -- ABC news contacted that -- this is a family of three from Alabama that is traveling in Norfolk about early August August 4. And they weren't. Apparently there was an inside joke -- laughing about it as -- an airport waiting in their Norfolk. And Alexis apparently came up -- -- -- screaming at them because he felt that they were laughing at him. Now the timing of that event is kind of important because three days later we hear about that police report in Newport, Rhode Island. Where Alexis had -- to three different hotels and one night. And he complained that he was hearing voices in particular three individuals who are using some kind of -- a machine to transmit my curly waves. Microwave waves at him and there -- making invite -- he felt he could not sleep it was that incident that was and reported as Karen said. To any authorities -- annual base to Newport and those authorities they're -- that he was not a threat to himself. What to others but that information was not sent up the chain of command and Newport -- kind of stayed at that low level. So a we've kind -- get a Fuller picture now of the kind of mental state that Alexis that was experiencing in the month. Prior to this incident here in the navy yard. It's interesting -- because that incident at the airport in particular highlights. Yet another example it's very clear in hindsight when we get to piece it all together. But at the same time these are all incidents that more or less. Fell under the radar on -- just under the line where I think people would take it more seriously. How much is the Pentagon or the navy really coming under criticism for missing all of this. -- night and it background briefing yesterday with some senior officials -- -- There's a lot of questions are depending on about the background checks that employees and contractors undergo and we look as we learned this week -- Alexis -- a -- secret national security clearance that lasted ten years so are their further background checks on means a lot can happen in ten years. And we were told that there are further contact between -- he -- -- the kind of organizations. Or in -- opposite personal management conducts. These kinds of a background checks out with line -- but it's at a high level it turns out it's moved more contacts with the FBI. These are obviously incidents that occurred. At the local level with law enforcement side and -- Georgia Seattle. And -- and Newport. Like he -- -- I'll under the rubble and other issues as well which have spurred new action by the navy secretary last night he ordered a review. Of that actual clearance system within any structure. And Howard these systems. Undertaken how can can -- see where their new data new information like the ones in -- record. I can surfaced which can lead to re evaluations and waited a certain individuals -- -- main -- maintain that kind of clearance. And one -- reviews that he's asked is actually that. Alexis is record be reviewed just to look for potential warning signs to look to see what -- learned about the current system in the future. At the same time they've definitely voiced concern about not wanting to statement ties post traumatic stress disorder and mental illness in general that that wouldn't necessarily preclude someone. From security clearance. That's right actually that the questions about. Mental anguish her mental behavior. Mental health behavior have been removed from the forms for national security clearances. That was done a few years ago to. From PTS Steve while they suffered during that they experienced during their -- -- deployments. You heard as chairman of the joint chiefs -- -- yesterday say that he wants to see men and women in uniform continue with their lives with proper treatment. For certain like some of these mental conditions on because there's nothing that should preclude them from serving honorably. But in this case there there were signs that -- miss you -- did -- say. That there isn't -- thinking he doesn't think there any questions on any form. That could have led to the actions of this individual because he -- basically said he committed murder and I don't think any questions than any form could lead to a conclusion that. That's what he was going to commit and so much of what is on those forms is self reporting it anyway you've got to be very honest what about what Alexis wrote. On his weapon the ELF weapon is -- a military -- the system of the new information coming out about the incident ELF weapon what's the significance. -- -- if we there are a couple of taxi can take on this one is that you look at his history as. Basically an aviation mechanic who dealt with eighty onyx with helicopters and then in the navy. So one -- -- permanent theories is that the navy uses something called extra low frequency. She as a former communications with its submarines. There's some thinking that it's it's a military term -- communications term. There's another theory being bandied about which were not sure how much validity it has but it's out there -- some forms we've heard that. Alexis was a video -- -- an avid video -- And there is and ELF of reference and one of popular video games. One fantasy games and so it's unclear and it's and I guess -- -- first two that they type of weapon -- used in -- -- And so it's unclear if that's what the references so it's a mystery on the and obviously -- -- Investigators find something on his laptop. Or any other documents he -- left behind for potential clues it's -- for now remains a mystery -- particularly what that he'll have. References now. President Obama and Vice President Biden. Reacted did personally. We know that Biden. Has met with injured patients when about the president. And we know that vice president visited the hospital last night here in Washington -- three of the remaining. Victims are the ones who really injured in the shooting incident on Monday. That the president is now going to attend on win on Sunday. -- eight yen on being more officers being planned there at the Washington navy yard. I he'll be joined by other top military officials like secretary Gil it's going to be -- -- -- -- -- it's -- -- The somber -- -- after the shootings at Fort Hood back in 2009. We could remember those striking images. How president -- comforted the families. There in front of huge crowds there Fort Hood. So I can anticipate something very similar. Politically I think -- touching this with right now. We heard we talked yesterday about sequestration that in that turn out to be really. Not a player. It's but think think right now the focus is on the families the victims. And that what how they're gonna get through this in the future. In terms of. Changing policy the navy has signaled perhaps -- -- they are actively looking into. How -- -- people how they hire subcontractors. Any indication of where they are in terms of that work and -- any of this started. After Edwards noted and that seemed to be period of time where people questioned. Than setting of security clearance -- back -- as well. You hear high tech that's that is still an affair you think would have triggered a whole -- events and actually did. But that was more on the computer front and in other words like if you're accessing a computer. I'm in this case it's really more about the security clearances and access that he had. The that the quick -- look that the -- conducting right now is gonna take about two weeks that's really looking more security procedures on bases. How personal access bases from the -- -- card. That security clearance issue is much different this -- -- look more to their backgrounds. Of individuals and what -- -- what enables residents to see secret documents. Information which Alex has had access to given that job that he had. It's it's kind of interest -- when I first heard that Alexis had a secret clearance I was surprised because I -- I thought of him as a mechanic. You think if you think about it you you have young service members -- -- dealing with secret equipment. The equipment on board America's military helicopters is pretty sensitive stuff so they have to have security clearances in order to deal with that. It was that security clearance that basically helped him. Make himself marketable as Peter ITT. Specialist. Two areas. An eighty subcontractor. And it's that security clearance with the job that got -- the bad. That ultimately enable them to get access to the base on Monday. It's also accused. -- it seems very obvious in hindsight that things need to change it may be certain procedures need to be tightened up. But at the same time these are tens of thousands of people who still -- to be able to do their jobs. And have free access. That's threat at that briefing I was talking -- -- senior officials are saying listen in an ideal world -- the hat security checks where you everyone goes through magnetometer is where cars every vehicle was checked. With hoods popped open and if you will but think it is significant delays that happen and we need to. The analogy was -- every time you go to the mall every time you go to theory it's a risky situation. So are you talking about having this kind of equipment in your entire. -- spectrum or is just because you're talking about individuals working military facilities. And they say that's not practical -- they do everything they can't with a background checks and they provide yet the level of security. For people access bases facilities. NBC's -- Martinez it was good talking to you thank you for joining us. And you can -- a complete recap right here on abcnews.com. For now -- Hernandez in New York but this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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