WASHINGTON — Richard Ridgell, a former Maryland state trooper, and Kathy Gaarde, a bird watcher, went to work Monday at the Washington Navy Yard. Like 10 other victims, they never came home.
They were among those killed by Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor whose shooting spree Monday in the facility a little more than a mile from the U.S. Capitol prompted fresh scrutiny of how the military reviews security clearances.
Alexis died in an exchange of gunfire with police after fatally shooting 12 people whose identities were released Monday night and Tuesday by Washington, D.C., police.
The dead ranged in age from 46 to 73 years old, according to police, and their jobs included furniture installation, financial analysis and naval architecture, according to media reports.
Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, Md., worked in security and was a former Maryland state trooper, according to his father-in-law, Thomas C. Lyons, and Maryland State Police.
“He was very familiar with weapons,” Lyons said in a telephone interview.
Ridgell had been employed by a number of security firms and his work had taken him to the Middle East, Lyons said. He was unsure if Ridgell was guarding the Navy Yard when he was shot.
Ridgell started with the Maryland State Police in 1983 and resigned in 2000 with the rank of corporal, said Sgt. Marc Black, a spokesman for the force.
Ridgell coached softball and had two daughters, one in college and the other in high school, Lyons said. And, like a true Marylander, he ate seafood.
“He loved his crabs,” Lyons said. “His steamed crabs.”
He had been married for about 20 years, Lyons said. Agents from the FBI came to his wife’s home early Tuesday morning, and she traveled to Washington, D.C., to identify his body, Lyons said.
“I think everyone is in extreme shock,” Lyons said. “It’s been very traumatic.”
Alexis entered the Navy Yard using a valid identification card tied to his work and later shot Kathy Gaarde, 62, of Woodbridge, Va., a financial management analyst.
She “was a caring daughter, fantastic mother, wife (of 38 years) and best friend for 43 years,” her husband, Doug, said in an emailed statement that was distributed Tuesday on behalf of the family.
Gaarde counted bluebirds for a wildlife refuge near the couple’s home about 23 miles south of the Navy Yard, according to the statement. She held season tickets to the Washington Capitals hockey team for 25 years, the statement said. She was a graduate of Florida State University.
The wife of another victim mourned publicly, taking to the airwaves to talk about her husband of 30 years, Arthur Daniels, 51, of Washington, D.C.
“All he did was went to work, that’s all,” Priscilla Daniels told WTTG television, according to a video posted by the Fox network stations. “That man didn’t have to shoot my husband. I love my husband.”
Daniels worked as a handyman and reported to the Navy Yard on and off for 17 years, according to his widow. The Daniels family had five children and nine grandchildren, according to WTTG.
Martin Bodrog, of Annandale, Va., 54, graduated from the U.S Naval Academy in 1981 and worked in the military for 22 years, according to an obituary emailed by a family friend, Jeffrey Prowse.
Bodrog taught Sunday school, helped shovel snow for his elderly neighbors and cheered for the Boston Bruins, according to the emailed statement.
Bodrog leaves behind his wife of 25 years, Melanie, and three daughters: Isabel, 23; Sophie, 17; and Rita, 16.
Police identified the remaining victims as:
— Michael Arnold, 59, of Lorton, Va.
— Sylvia Frasier, 53, of Waldorf, Md.
— John Roger Johnson, 73, of Derwood, Md.
— Frank Kohler, 50, of Tall Timbers, Md.
— Mary Francis Knight, 51, of Reston, Va.
— Vishnu Shalchendia Pandit, 61, of North Potomac, Md.
— Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46, of Waldorf, Md
— Gerald L. Read, 58, of Alexandria, Va.
Three wounded people, including a police officer, taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center were “doing well” Tuesday, with two in fair condition and one in good condition, So Young Pak, a spokeswoman for the facility in Washington, said in an email.
Linskey reported from Boston.