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Annapolis Man Honored for Bravery in Navy Yard Shooting

An Annapolis man was one of eight awarded with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions after last year’s shooting at the Navy Yard.

Master at Arms Charles Pitt of Annapolis receiving his Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Credit: Screenshot from U.S. Navy YouTube video
Master at Arms Charles Pitt of Annapolis receiving his Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Credit: Screenshot from U.S. Navy YouTube video
Master at Arms Charles Pitt, 28, of Annapolis was recognized Monday for his heroism in the aftermath of last year’s Washington Navy Yard shooting.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presented awards to four sailors and four officers, including Pitt, at a ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard. Pitt and the others received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the service’s highest valor award for non-combat actions, according to the Navy Times.

“It was a terrible day,” Pitt told the Baltimore Sun. “In a sense we train our whole lives for this.”

On September 16, 2013, gunman Aaron Alexis, 34, open fired in the Navy Yard, killing 13 people, including himself, and injuring eight others, according to the Baltimore Sun. Alexis was a computer technician for a Navy contractor.

Pitt, a kennel supervisor at the time, arrived on the scene that day with his 5-year-old German shepherd, Olli. Pitt carried an officer who had been shot in the face outside. The duo then searched for the shooting suspect without success, but Olli was able to sniff out people barricaded behind doors, hiding from the shooter.

Alexis was allegedly suffering from a mental disorder; he believed he was being controlled by extra low frequency electromagnetic waves, according to a previous Patch story. Etchings on Alexis’s shotgun read “My ELF Weapon,” End to the torment,” “Better off this way,” and “Not what ya’ll say.” A note he left behind read, “ultra low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this.”

“As a family, we grieved, and we continue to grieve,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus during the ceremony. “We gather here, again, as a family, to recognize the heroism of those we lost and the heroism of those who confronted evil on that day last fall.”

Pitt’s medal recognizes his valor in risking his life to save others. But although he’s the one with the medal, Pitt did not neglect to honor Olli, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“He couldn’t have responded any better,” Pitt said. “We like to joke that he’s kind of a lazy dog, but he could feel the adrenaline in the air and he gave 110 percent.”

The ceremony also honored the 12 people who were killed.

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