Tampa woman files federal claim for slain sister in Navy Shipyard shooting for $37 million

Victim's sister files $37M claim against Navy

TAMPA - "She was just absolutely radiant and beautiful in it and it captures her spirit," said Patricia Delorenzo of Tampa.

A photo taken at her niece's wedding was the last time Patricia Delorenzo saw her older sister alive.

"It captures her spirit," she said.

51-year-old Mary Frances Delorenzo Knight has only been gone for six weeks.

"I just don't understand why they didn't have those measures in place and now she's gone and all these other people are gone. I just think it's tragic and it should never happen again," said her sister.

Knight was one of 12 people Aaron Alexis shot and killed at a Washington, D.C. Navy shipyard on September 16. Her younger sister was forced to open her will the same day and read the instructions to take care of her two daughters.

"Whatever I can do to honor her and her girls," she said.

Delorenzo is filing a $37 million dollar claim against the U.S. Navy and the Department of Veterans Affairs which her attorney says will likely lead to a federal lawsuit to be filed in Tampa.

"This shooter was a rattlesnake and he was armed. He was dangerous. He had teeth. He slithered on the grounds. He had rattles and he told everyone that he was coming. In this particular case, Aaron Alexis was arrested three prior times for gun violence," said attorney Sidney Matthew.

Matthew says the navy knew the shipyard shooter was dangerous and delusional. The civilian IT contractor was honorably discharged in 2011 but Alexis had a series of misconduct issues prior to that-- two where he fired a gun.

"What this case is about is negligence in controlling the security of the Navy Yard property. The Navy knew and should have known that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, was armed and dangerous," said Matthew.

Perhaps that's the hardest part for Delorenzo who's left behind with a photo, a letter, and a promise to fulfill to her sister.

"I know that I'm making the right decisions and it's in honor of her," said Delorenzo.

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