National News

Sep 18, 2013 8:54 AM

Navy Yard Shooting Victims Had Long Careers There

WASHINGTON - A dozen people died in a shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard. The shooter also was killed.

It was the deadliest attack at a domestic military installation since November 2009, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 30 others at Fort Hood, Texas. The stories of the 12 who were gunned down and a police officer who survived are told here.

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Michael Arnold, 59, of Lorton, Va., was a Navy veteran and avid pilot who was building a light airplane at his home, said his uncle, Steve Hunter.

"It would have been the first plane he ever owned," Hunter said in a telephone interview from Rochester, Mich., Arnold's hometown. "It's partially assembled in his basement."

Hunter said his nephew retired from the Navy as a commander or lieutenant commander and had previously been stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He worked at the Navy Yard on a team that designed vessels such as the USS Makin Island, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship used by the Marine Corps.

Arnold and his wife, Jolanda, had been married for more than 30 years, Hunter said. They had two grown sons, Eric and Christopher.

Hunter said Arnold returned to Michigan for Labor Day to visit his 80-year-old mother, Patricia.

"He was a loving son of his mother and his wife, and great father to his kids," said Hunter. "It's tragic. How can you get up in the morning and go to work and have that happen? How do bad things like that happen to good people?"

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Martin Bodrog, 54, lived on a quiet, tree-shaded cul-de-sac in Annandale, Va., where family and friends gathered Tuesday.

Jeff Prowse, a close friend of Bodrog and family spokesman, said Bodrog was a hardworking Navy veteran and graduate of the Naval Academy who cared deeply about his family, his friends and his country.

"A heart of gold, and one of the most humble, self-effacing guys," said Prowse, a burly ex-Marine who paused several times to fight back tears as he talked.

"This is just an absolute tragedy for so many reasons," Prowse said.

Prowse worked with Bodrog at the Pentagon on amphibious vessel programs. He said Bodrog was transferred from the Pentagon to the Navy Yard in January.

Bodrog had been married for 25 years to Melanie, whom he met while she was serving on active duty as a Navy nurse. The couple had three daughters, ages 23, 17 and 16.

Prowse and Bodrog shared a love of the Boston Bruins hockey team and he last spoke to his good friend about a week ago.

"We were actually getting ready to figure out our Bruins schedule for the year," said Prowse, who retired from the military and now lives in southwest Virginia.

Bodrog was active in his church, where he started a Bible study and helped lead preschool and youth programs, Prowse said. In the winter, Bodrog could be seen in shorts and his Boston Bruins jersey, shoveling the driveways of elderly neighbors.

"The one thing that always stuck out to me about Marty ... was how absolutely driven he was to make sure that the equipment we were giving our Marines and sailors was absolutely the best he could be," Prowse said. "It was not a job for Marty, it was an absolute calling."

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Arthur Daniels, 51, of Washington, was a handyman working for a furniture contractor who just happened to be moving and installing furniture at the Navy Yard on Monday when the shooting began. He was the father of five children and the grandfather of nine.

Priscilla Daniels, 46, told The Washington Post she had kissed her husband that morning and teased that he should stay in bed because it was raining.

"I don't know why they shot him," she said. "He was a good father and hard worker."

Every year, it was Arthur Daniels who cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the family. On weekends, he spent time washing and polishing his white Crown Victoria.

Priscilla Daniels said she and her husband loved going out on the town with their shoes shined and hair done, holding hands. They were high school sweethearts, and all four of their sons were named after Arthur Daniels.

His death comes four years after the death of their 14-year-old son Arthur A. Daniels, who was shot and killed on a Washington street.

"My husband was the man I loved through all the tragedy," Priscilla Daniels said. "I can't believe this is happening again."

Arthur Daniels was the family's breadwinner. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray called Priscilla Daniels on Tuesday to offer condolences and asked if there was any life insurance, but the answer was no. The mayor said he would send a staff member to the house to discuss the family's finances.

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Sylvia Frasier, 53, of Waldorf, Md., had worked at Naval Sea Systems Command as an information assurance manager since 2000, according to a LinkedIn profile in her name.

Frasier studied at Strayer University, earning a bachelor of science in computer information systems in 2000 and a master's in information systems in 2002. Her duties at NAVSEA included providing policy and guidance on network security, and assuring that all computer systems operated by the headquarters met Department of Navy and Department of Defense requirements.

She also led efforts "to establish and implement procedures to investigate security violations or incidents," according to the profile.

Her brother, James Frasier, declined comment Monday night.

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Kathleen Gaarde, 63, of Woodbridge, Va., was a financial analyst who supported the organization responsible for the shipyards, her husband, Douglass, wrote in an email to the AP Tuesday.

Douglass Gaarde declined to speak, but wrote that he was unable to sleep.

"Today my life partner of 42 years (38 of them married) was taken from me, my grown son and daughter, and friends," he wrote. "We were just starting to plan our retirement activities and now none of that matters. It hasn't fully sunk in yet but I know I already dearly miss her."

Madelyn Gaarde, of Grand Junction, Colo., who's married to Douglass Gaarde's brother, said her sister- and brother-in-law met while he was studying electrical engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Douglass Gaarde, an Illinois native, also worked for the Navy until his retirement last year, his sister-in-law said.

"She was a very gracious person and very welcoming," she said of Kathleen Gaarde.

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Logistics analyst John Roger Johnson, 73, was perhaps most notorious for his bear hugs, his daughter said.

"Rib-crunchers," Megan Johnson said with a laugh as she remembered her father Tuesday. "You didn't have to pay for a chiropractor."

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