September 17, 2013

Navy yard shooting suspect was discharged from Navy Reserve, had anger issues

The Washington Post

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This undated cell phone photo provided by Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul shows a smiling Aaron Alexis in Fort Worth, Texas. The FBI has identified Alexis, 34, as the gunman in the Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 shooting rampage at at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington that left thirteen dead, including himself. (AP Photo/Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul)

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Alexis spent nearly four years in the Navy as a full-time reservist from May 2007 until he was discharged in January 2011, according to a summary of personnel records released by the Navy. A Navy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Alexis was discharged from the service in January 2011 for "misconduct," and that the 2010 firearms incident in Texas played a role in his departure.

He achieved his final rank of Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class in December 2009.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Alexis worked as a defense contractor after his discharge. A deleted LinkedIn page under Alexis's name listed SinglePoint Technologies, a Richmond, Va., firm, as his employer; the company did not return a call seeking comment.

Alexis spent the bulk of his service time – from 2008 to 2011 – assigned to the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 46 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth in Texas, from 2008 until he left the service in 2011, records show. He was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal – two awards of minor distinction.

In Fort Worth, Alexis lived for a time in a gated townhouse community called Orion at Oak Hill. In September, 2010, police were called to Apartment 2023 after Alexis's downstairs neighbor complained that Alexis had fired a bullet through his floor and into her ceiling below.

The woman told police that she had had occasion to call them about Alexis several times for being too loud, but that nothing had been done. The woman said Alexis had confronted her a few days earlier in the complex's parking lot, where he complained that she had been making too much noise. The woman told police that "she is terrified of Aaron and feels that this was done intentionally," the police report said.

Police made three attempts to contact Alexis by knocking on his door, but he didn't respond. Only after police called in firefighters to force entry into his apartment did Alexis emerge. Alexis then told police that he had been cleaning his gun while he was cooking and his hands had become greasy and the weapon discharged by accident, according to the police report.

"He told me that he began to take the gun apart when his hands slipped and pulled the trigger, discharging a round into the ceiling," the officer wrote.

Alexis was arrested for improper discharge of a firearm, but a spokesman for the county district attorney's office said no charges were brought in the matter. Alexis's mugshot from that arrest shows a clean-shaven man with soft eyes and an impassive expression.

A couple of weeks later, the apartment complex began eviction proceedings against Alexis, according to county court records.

Soon after that, Srisan Somsak, a Thai immigrant in Fort Worth, met Alexis at the Wat Busayadhammavanaram Meditation Center, where Alexis had occasionally shown up for meditation starting in summer of 2010. Alexis said he needed a place to stay and Somsak offered to rent him the two-bedroom white bungalow behind the center – if he promised not to smoke or drink.

Alexis rented the place for $600 a month, lived up to those promises and never missed a payment, said Somsak, 57.

"He's a good boy," said Somsak, who spoke English with a heavy accent. "Everybody would say, 'He's a good boy' here. Not only me. He's a good boy."

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