Details about the deceased suspect in today’s massacre at the US Navy Yard in Washington, DC,34-year-old Aaron Alexis, are starting to emerge. He has been described as being from Texas, and was stationed in Fort Worth when he was with the US Navy from 2007 to 2011, as an aircraft electrician. He left the Navy but remained in the inactive reserves, reportedly, because he did not like the Navy’s demand that he get out of bed early for work. He continued to live in the area. According to this video and this story in the Dallas Morning News, he worked at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in Fort Worth.
Alexis grew up in Brooklyn, New York.
He has been described as a Buddhist and deeply interested in Thailand’s language and culture, and recently traveled to Thailand. But note this curious detail in the DMN story.
Back in Fort Worth on Monday, Kevin McDaniel, 52, said the news made him “literally physically ill.”
“He was such a nice guy,” he said.
McDaniel, who owns a furniture store next to Happy Bowl, said the last time he saw Alexis was the day before he moved to Washington. Alexis tried to get him to buy his furniture, he said.
“He seemed like he was real happy and excited about what was going on,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said the shooting left him even more puzzled because he had conversations with Alexis about Islamic extremism and the Fort Hood shooting. He thought they both agreed it was a horrible tragedy, he said.
“It could have all been a ruse — I don’t know,” he said.
Alexis has a history of anger issues across several years. In 2004, he was arrested in Seattle, WA after an “anger-fueled” shooting.
Because Seattle police have received numerous inquiries about the incident, we are posting the details, detective logs, and the original report for the May 6, 2004 case.
At about 8 am that morning, two construction workers had parked their 1986 Honda Accord in the driveway of their worksite, next to a home where Alexis was staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.
The victims reported seeing a man, later identified by police as Alexis, walk out of the home next to their worksite, pull a gun from his waistband and fire three shots into the two rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to his home north of the construction site.
Officers responded to the scene but were unable to locate Alexis, and no one answered the door at his home.
When detectives interviewed workers and a manager at the construction site, they told police Alexis had “stared” at construction workers at the job site every day over the last month prior to the shooting. The owner of the construction business told police he believed Alexis was angry over the parking situation around the work site.
Note: Anger may have fueled the shooting, but he was patient. He may have planned the Seattle shooting over the course of a month.
Detective notes from the incident indicate they made several attempts to contact Alexis by phone and at his work, but eventually found and arrested him outside of his home on June 3rd.
Police then obtained permission to search the home, found a gun and ammunition in Alexis’ room, and booked him into the King County Jail for malicious mischief.
Following his arrest, Alexis told detectives he perceived he had been “mocked” by construction workers the morning of the incident and said they had “disrespected him.” Alexis also claimed he had an anger-fueled “blackout,” and could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident.
Alexis also told police he was present during “the tragic events of September 11, 2001″ and described “how those events had disturbed him.”
Detectives later spoke with Alexis’ father, who lived in New York at the time, who told police Alexis had anger management problems associated with PTSD, and that Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts on September 11th, 2001.
Back in Fort Worth in 2010, Alexis had another gun-related run-in that was apparently anger-fueled. Back to the DMN:
[O]ne of Alexis’ former neighbors once told police that Alexis scared her.
Fort Worth police arrested Alexis in 2010 after he shot through the floor of his upstairs neighbors’ apartment. Alexis told police that he was cleaning his gun while cooking and that it accidentally went off. The neighbor told police she believed the 2010 shooting was intentional.
According to a police report, Alexis complained often that the neighbor made too much noise and confronted her in the parking lot several days before the shooting. When police first went to Alexis’ apartment, he didn’t answer their knocks. After parademics arrived, he came to the door and told police the shooting was an accident.
Police arrested Alexis, but the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office decided not to prosecute.
“After reviewing the facts presented by he police department, it was determined that the elements constituting recklessness under Texas law were not present and a case was not filed,” district attorney spokeswoman Melody McDonald said in a prepared statement.
More recently, Alexis was living in or near Washington, DC, working as a contractor at the US Navy Yard according to USA Today.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told CNN that Alexis was serving as an information technology contractor at the time of the shooting.
In that story, USAT says that other Navy officials who declined to be identified that Alexis had a history of misconduct during his four years with the service.
More: The Chicago Tribune reports that Alexis was discharged from the Navy after “multiple disciplinary infractions.” That could indicate a less than honorable discharge.
More: The police report from Alexis’ shooting incident in Seattle is here.
thumbnail image courtesy shutterstock / Lipskiy
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