Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old defense contract employee and former Navy reservist, killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16 before he was slain in a gun battle with police. After the attack, investigators learned that Alexis was suffering from mental issues. He left a note saying he was driven to kill by months of bombardment with extremely low-frequency radio waves and had complained of phantom voices talking to him through walls and ceilings at a Rhode Island hotel room.
It seemed like everyone had an opinion on the Redskins name controversy in 2013, from President Obama to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Meanwhile, team owner Daniel Snyder issued a letter to season ticket holders in October, passionately defending the name despite mounting outside pressure demanding him to change it.
A giant panda cub was born at the National Zoo on Aug. 23. Animal lovers were happy to see the baby reach key growth milestones, especially considering another cub born to Mei Xiang in Sept. 2012 died less than a week later. The cub was officially named Bao Bao at a Dec. 1 ceremony after thousands of people voted for the name online.
Tens of thousands of Americans gathered on the National Mall in August to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Standing on the very steps on the Lincoln Memorial from which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke a half-century prior, President Obama urged each person to become a modern-day marcher for racial harmony and economic justice.
Alexandria police officer Peter Laboy was shot in the head during a routine traffic stop Feb. 27. Just after the shooting, doctors were amazed that the 45-year-old veteran motorcycle officer and father of four was even breathing. Within just a few weeks, he started to speak, eat and sit up. Laboy’s brain is still recovering from the trauma, and his wife continues to keep an online journal about his progress.
Declaring “our journey is not complete,” President Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term before a crowd of hundreds of thousands Jan. 21. Notable moments included Beyonce lip-syncing her performance at the ceremony, Richard Blanco becoming the first hispanic or gay man to recite the inaugural poem and, of course, First Lady Michelle Obama’s wardrobe choices.
Some members of the D.C. city council tried but ultimately failed to pass a “Living Wage Bill” that would not be subject to veto by Mayor Vincent Gray. That legislation would have required only large, non-union chains like Walmart and Home Depot to pay their employees more. A few months later, D.C. and neighboring Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Md. all voted for historic across-the-board minimum wage increases.
Miriam Carey, a 34-year-old former dental hygienist from Connecticut, died after driving her unauthorized vehicle to a White House checkpoint, hitting a Secret Service agent while fleeing the scene and then leading officers on a high-speed chase to the U.S. Capitol, causing chaos in the District on Oct. 3. Carey was reportedly battling postpartum depression and believed President Barack Obama was stalking her.
For the first time in nearly two decades, the federal government staggered into a partial shutdown Oct. 1 after congressional Republicans demanded changes in the nation’s health care law as the price for essential federal funding. President Barack Obama and Democrats refused alterations to the Affordable Care Act and a resolution was not reached until Oct. 16. Federal workers, more than 800,000 of them, were furloughed during that time.
Two D.C. police officers came under investigation for alleged misconduct this year, including one accused of running a prostitution operation from his apartment. “It only takes one cop to do one thing like this to shake everybody in our community,” Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during a press conference on the allegations on Dec. 6. The body of one of the officers, a seven-year veteran of the department who was arrested and charged with production of child pornography, was pulled from the Washington Channel at Hains Point in Southwest D.C. just days after he was charged.
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