Pentagon: Navy Yard shooter was nearly dismissed multiple times

In one particular instance, Alexis's then commanding officer had drafted the necessary paperwork to have him dismissed from the Navy under a "general discharge," related to a 2010 arrest on weapons charges in Ft. Worth, Texas. 

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As a result, Alexis was granted an honorable discharge from the Navy in 2011 and retained the security clearance granted during his time in the service. 

That clearance, and his position as a information technology contractor, allowed Alexis access to the Navy's Washington D.C. headquarters, where he killed 13 people in a mass shooting last Monday. 

Alexis was killed in a shootout with police after they responded to shots being fired at the Navy base in Southeast Washington D.C. 

Defense Department officials argued the reason Alexis's security clearance was not reinvestigated was due, in part, due to a lack of "derogatory information" in his service record. 

In the aftermath of the shooting, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) pressed Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on why Alexis was granted an honorable discharge, despite his checkered service record. 

"I am concerned that the Navy may have missed opportunities to prevent this tragedy well before it happened," Ayotte wrote in a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus last Thursday. 

"Had Alexis received a general discharge, future employers would have been more likely to give his background extra scrutiny," Ayotte wrote. 

"This additional scrutiny may have helped potential employers identify Alexis’ reported arrests in three states and better informed their hiring decisions," she added. 

At the time of his retirement from the Navy, service leaders found no major "security incidents" in the five separate command evaluations Navy commanders conducted during his 4-year career. 

"Everything was pretty routine" in Alexis' service record, aside from "relatively minor conduct offenses," the service official told reporters Monday. 

But a Navy timeline of his service career, released by the Pentagon on Monday, found two separate instances where Alexis could have been dismissed from the Navy. 

In July 2009, Alexis was given a "non-judicial punishment" for violating the Navy's alcohol policies. It was his second NJP in as many years, according to the Navy time line. 

Traditionally, a second punishment would result in a "general discharge" from the service. 

But then Navy Commander Steven Knight, Alexis' commanding officer at the time, "set aside" the second infraction of Navy rules in 2009. 

Knight noted there was "insufficient evidence" to prove Alexis was intoxicated at the time of the July incident, and had the second NJP removed from his record. 

Less than a year later, Knight began drafting a dismissal request for Alexis after his arrest for an illegal discharge of a firearm in Ft. Worth, Texas, according to Navy documents. 

But Knight scrubbed the request after Ft. Worth police opted not to charge Alexis for firing the gun. At the time, Alexis claimed the handgun went off as he was cleaning the weapon. 

"After Alexis was not charged for unlawfully discharging a firearm, this [request] was not signed, dated or sent," according to the Navy. 

An official record of Knight's effort to dismiss Alexis was only uncovered after Navy investigators discovered the paperwork in the Navy officer's personal files.