Mother of local Navy Yard shooting victim opens up Tuesday

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For the first time, Eyewitness News is hearing from the mother of a North Carolina woman who was killed in the D.C. Navy Yard shootings.

She opened up about the moment she found out about the mass shooting.

"She usually calls every other day because she commutes," said Lilly Delorenzo, Mary Delorenzo Knight's mother.

But there was no call home to Fayetteville on Monday from Mary Delorenzo, instead her Mother Lilly got another call.

"What happened was, my husband and I, we came home from the grocery store and do a couple things. My son called from California and he said there has been something going on where she works in the building," said Lilly.

Mary Delorenzo is from Fayetteville, but she worked as an information technology contractor at the Navy Yard.

On Monday night, her family was told by federal authorities that she was among the 12 victims killed in the deadly shooting spree at the hands of Aaron Alexis.

On Tuesday night, Eyewitness News is getting a look at just how Alexis carried it out -- entering the front door with a security pass, carrying a bag and moving to the bathroom on the fourth floor out into the hallway shooting away.

From there Alexis moved down to the third floor, standing on a catwalk overlooking the atrium and shooting down into the cafeteria.

Then finally, Alexis moved down a stairwell to the first floor killing a security guard. When police rushed in, 34-year-old Alexis was killed.

On Tuesday night it is all a harsh reality that Mary Delorenzo Knight's family is not ready to come to terms with.

Knight, 51, of Reston, Va., had recently received a big promotion and witnessed the marriage of her older daughter, her mother said.

Knight was born in Germany, where 1st Sgt. Frank DeLorenzo, a Green Beret instructor who did a tour in Vietnam, was stationed at the time. When she was about 10, the family was transferred to Fort Bragg, N.C.

Lilly DeLorenzo, a native of Trieste, Italy, said her daughter attended local schools and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"She was a No. 1 student," the proud mother said. "She always liked to go to school."

Knight, the oldest of three children, had recently been promoted at work to GS 15 -- the top civil service pay grade, her mother said. Last month, her older daughter, Nicole, 25, married a soldier.

DeLorenzo said Knight's younger daughter, Daniel, 20, was living with her in Reston while attending college. She said Knight never expressed any concerns about working at the Navy Yard.

Having watched her own husband and other soldiers go off to war, she never dreamed she had to worry about her civilian daughter.

"They survived, these soldiers, Afghanistan, Iraq and all that, and then they get over here and get killed," she said with a sigh. "I don't know what to say. I've been in shock. We've been in shock over such a thing. ...

"You really don't think about the parents and relatives, what they go through. Now I know."