Navy Yard Shooting Update: Victim Mary Knight's family wants $37.5 million from government

Aaron Alexis: Profile of Navy Yard shooter
Aaron Alexis CBS

(CBS) TAMPA, Fla. - The sister of Mary Frances Knight, one of the 12 people murdered six weeks ago by Aaron Alexis at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., has filed a claim against the Navy and the Veterans Administration for $37.5 million, reports CBS affiliate WTSP.

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The claim was reportedly filed on behalf of Knight's family.

"My sister would want me to fight for her and fight for the girls... so that's what I'm doing," Patricia Delorenzo told the station.

The claim alleges that the Navy and the VA should have known the 34-year-old Alexis posed a threat, that he had sought help for psychotic episodes and that he had a record of gun violence.

Alexis, who was also killed in the incident, was allowed through the shipyard gates with a weapon.

"Mary Frances Delorenzo Knight had a right to expect that the Navy would protect her, and not let a rattlesnake into the tent," the family's attorney, Sid Matthew, told WTSP.

When asked what she would say to the Secretary of Defense, Patricia answered pointedly.

"Why did you let this happen? It's just a life wasted when all you could have done was had a simple gun check," she said.

Mary Frances, 51, was the mother of 2-grown daughters, ages 25 and 21.

Matthew said the fling is about making sure Knight did not die in vain, and that such an occurrence is not allowed to happen again.

By law, the Navy and VA have six months to respond to the family's claim, reports the station. If denied, they say they will file a lawsuit in Tampa Federal Court.

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