WASHINGTON -

Through tears, the mother of a Michigan native who was among the victims of Monday's rampage at the Washington Navy Yard said she wanted the whole world to know how proud she was of him.

Michael Arnold, 59, who is from Rochester, died along with 11 others when Aaron Alexis opened fire.

Alexis, 34, an information technology contractor and former full-time Navy reservist was killed in a confrontation with security.

Arnold was living in Lorton, Va., and was a Navy veteran and avid pilot. He was building his own plane that he planned on flying from Virginia to Michigan before his 60th birthday.

Michael Arnold image

Arnold graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and served in the Navy for 29 years, before retiring as a captain last October, according to an article in the Navy Supply Corps Newsletter.

Arnold went to Rochester High School. He had two master's degrees from the University of Washington in Seattle, then went to work for LMI, a consulting firm based in McLean, Va.

He worked on designing ships in the yard.

Arnold just recently returned to Michigan for Labor Day to visit his 80-year-old mother, Patricia.

"I’m so proud of him. He’s just been a really wonderful son, wonderful father and wonderful husband," the mother told Local 4.

She said she was still in shock from the news.

"It's not real. It’s not possible that they just shot him for no reason," she said. "It'll sink in eventually."

Pat Arnold

--Patricia Arnold

Patricia Arnold said her daughter-in-law called Michael just after 8 a.m. to check on him because he had a cold. She said she heard a fire alarm go off in the background and was told Michael would call her later because he needed to go.

Arnold and his wife, Jolanda, had been married for more than 30 years, Hunter said. They had two grown sons, Eric and Christopher.

Special coverage: Washington Navy Yard shooting