September 17, 2013

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

The Washington Post

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

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)

Related headlines

Alexis occasionally meditated at the temple and helped out there when needed, said Somsak, who was pleased to find that his tenant studied the Thai language and visited Thailand.

On Monday, as word spread about the shooting, the temple filled with members eager to share their recollections of Alexis. "They don't believed it that he could kill 12 people like that," Somsak said. "I think probably somebody tried to put him down. I don't know. "Did somebody try to discriminate against him? That's the only way. That's what I keep thinking."

Somsak asked Alexis only once about why he had left his job at the naval base. It was a brief conversation.

"I asked him, 'Why you quit the job with the government?" Somsak said. "He said, 'Somebody doesn't like me.'"

Somsak left it there because "I don't want to go too deep with him."

Alexis visited the center about twice a week and was known as a quiet, if tightly wound, participant, according to a temple staff member.

"He would help people if they came in carrying heavy things," said J. Sirun, an assistant to the monks. "From the outside, he was a quiet person. But on the inside, I think he was very aggressive. He did not like to be close with anybody, like a soldier who has been at war."

Sirun said he avoided Alexis, who preferred to keep to himself. But Alexis was no longer; he had many Thai friends and spoke Thai "very well," Sirun said. "He understood about 75 percent of the language."

During that period, Alexis worked as a waiter and delivery man for the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Texas, according to customers and workers there. Customers saw him studying Thai at a table there during his off hours.

Alexis stopped showing up at the Buddhist center early in 2011, Sirun said.

"I didn't think he could be this violent," Sirun said. "I would not have been surprised to hear he had committed suicide. But I didn't think he could commit murder."

Relatives contacted by reporters were stunned to hear that he was involved in the Washington shootings. "I'd be shocked if it was him, but I don't know," said Weeks, his aunt, her voice trailing off.

Even as he worked for the defense contractor, Alexis was pursuing a bachelor's degree in aeronautics as an online student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The university, in Daytona Beach, Fla., said Alexis enrolled in July 2012, via the school's Fort Worth campus. He remained a student in good standing, said Melanie Hanns, Director of University Communications.

"He was enrolled for this semester," she said.

FBI Assistant Director Valerie Parlave asked the public to call 1-800-CALL-FBI with details about Alexis: "No piece of information is too small."

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)