But while specific details about the shooter’s life dominates the news, the victims of Monday’s massacre are only being remembered by name.
It’s time for us to remember and celebrate these individuals for who they really were. Here’s all we know about those lives that were taken too soon.
May they rest in perfect peace.
Martin Bodrog, 54
A retired U.S. Naval Officer, Bodrog spent more than two decades of his life in the military. He lived in Annandale, Virginia with his family – wife of 25 years Melanie and three daughters, Isabel, 23; Sophie, 17; and Rita, 16. He was a Sunday school teacher and could often be found outside in his trademark Boston Bruins jersey shoveling driveways for his elderly neighbors.
Kathy Gaarde, 62
A loving mother of two, Gaarde loved nature and animals and volunteered at a local wildlife refuge in her spare time. She was a financial analyst from Woodbridge, Virginia and was working on military contracts at the Navy Yard when tragedy struck on Monday. Gaarde was a fan of the Washington Capitals hockey team and leaves behind her children, a 26-year-old and a 33-year-old. The family asked that donations be made in her memory to the Virginia Branch of the Humane Society.
Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46
Proctor was the youngest victim of the Navy Yard shooting. He worked as a utilities operation foreman at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. He is recently divorced, but leaves two sons behind – 15-year-old Kendull, who attends Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, Maryland, and Kenneth Jr., 17, who graduated high school in May and joined the U.S. Army.
Vishnu Pandit, 61
Pandit moved to the United States in the 1970s after growing up in Mumbai, India. He earned a second degree in marine engineering and a master’s degree at the University of Michigan. His friends described him as a giving man. “He would always reach into his pocket. He wanted to share what he had, what God had given him,” said Satish Misra, his friend of 22 years. He leaves behind two sons and a granddaughter.
Gerald L. Read, 58
Read worked as a project manager in information assurance at the Navy Yard, but six years ago he and his wife of 35 years, Cathy, started a professional pet care company called Biscuit Break Pet Service. He loved animals and history – Read loved to watch battle re-enactments at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On the day of the shooting, his wife began to worry when she hadn’t heard from him by 5 p.m. “Then there was a knock at the door, and I thought it was him,” she said. But it was someone coming to tell her that he was a victim of the Navy Yard massacre. He leaves behind his wife and his daughter.
Arthur Daniels, 51
Daniels moved and installed office furniture in federal government buildings and on Monday, he was working at the Navy Yard. According to the Washington Post, Daniels was shot in the back as he and a colleague were frantically pushing an elevator button to escape the gunman. He was a grandfather of nine. His wife spoke out about the moment she found out her husband had been shot. “I called his supervisor and left a message,” Priscilla said. “When he called me back he said, ‘your husband got shot.’”
Sylvia Fraser, 53
Frasier worked on automated information systems and security of the network at Naval Sea Systems Command. She came from a very religious family, who according to Reuters, spent the hours after the shooting waiting for news, praying and reading the Bible.
John Roger Johnson, 73
Johnson was the oldest victim who passed away on Monday. He was set to celebrate his 74th birthday next month. J.J., as he was known by his family, lived with his wife Judy of eight years and leaves three adult daughters and 10 grandchildren behind. His 11th grandchild is due in November.
Richard Michael Ridgell, 52
Ridgell was a veteran of the Maryland State Police. His family and friends left kind words for the Westminster, Maryland native on his Facebook wall. ”Can’t believe you were one of the 12 taken from us yesterday, kind of feels like a dream that we are all waiting to wake up from,” wrote Kelly Robins, who identified herself as his cousin.
Michael Arnold, 59
Arnold was a Navy veteran who lived in Lorton and was recently hired by a government consulting firm. According to Reuters, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served for 29 years before retiring as a captain last year.
Mary Francis Knight, 51
Knight, who had worked at the Naval Sea Systems Command since 2009, had just started a new position in September. In addition, she was also an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College. She leaves behind two daughters.
Frank Kohler, 50
Kohler worked as an independent contractor. He was married with two college-aged children and lived in Tall Timbers, Maryland.