8NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Navy Yard Gunman Had Ties to Henrico Co. - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

8NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Navy Yard Gunman Had Ties to Henrico Co.

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Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul / AP Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul / AP

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) - 8News has learned the Washington Navy Yard gunman, who authorities say shot and killed 12 people in a Monday shooting rampage, has ties to the Richmond area.

Aaron Alexis' former stepfather, Frank Calderon, lives in Henrico County. On Wednesday, Calderon's girlfriend, Sheila, spoke exclusively with 8News.

With a heavy heart, Sheila told 8News she's sorry for the families of those killed and believes 100 percent that Monday's shooting could have been prevented.

"We apologize to the families that it happened; I feel bad," Shelia told 8News. "It's sad what's going on in the world-it's really sad how people are killing and killing and hurting families and every three months something happens. It's really sad."

Complete Coverage: D.C. Navy Yard Shooting

Shelia said she believes Alexis was mentally ill- confirming previous reports that mental illness may have triggered after Alexis found himself at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Monday's shooting in Washington, D.C. was just one week after the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Alexis was treated for mental health issues and back in August he told police in Rhode Island that he'd been hearing voices, and that people were using some sort of microwave machine to follow him. He also told others he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from 9/11.

"PTSD comes when a person experiences a traumatic or life-threatening event," said Dr. Brian Meyer, acting associate chief of mental health at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center.

Psychologists at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond say some suffering from PTSD will experience nightmares, flashbacks and negative thoughts, and they may become irritable or suspicious of others. Very few turn violent.

"There are literally millions of people in this country with PTSD--six percent of the country," Meyer said. "But they aren't threats; they aren't a danger."

"Frank is really stressed out about this," Sheila told 8News. "It's affecting our work, our lifestyle, we are positive we live a good life, and we don't want to be distracted with this situation that's going on."

Sheila told 8News she and Calderon want to move on, pleading for peace.

"We are feeling the negative vibes and affecting our mental status it's affecting our heads- trying to go to work, trying to work out, trying to eat good," Shelia said. "So please let us try to regain our life again."



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