Suspect in DC shootings arrested in Seattle in 2004

Print
Email
|

by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 16 at 11:00 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A profile began to emerge Monday of Aaron Alexis, the man authorities identified as the gunman in a mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., that left 13 people dead, including the 34-year-old man.

While some neighbors and acquaintances described him as "nice," Alexis was arrested in Seattle in 2004 for allegedly shooting out the tires of another's man's vehicle in an anger-fueled "blackout." His father also told detectives in Seattle that his son had anger management problems related to post-traumatic stress brought on by the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011. According to military records, Alexis received the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

He had left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It's not immediately clear why he left.

Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas, and was ranked an Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.

According to Seattle police, on May 6, 2004, two construction workers had parked their Honda Accord in the driveway of their worksite, located next to a home where Alexis was staying at in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. Police later determined the home as belonging to Alexis' grandmother.

The workers told police they saw a man, later identified as Alexis, walk out of the house, pull out a gun from his waistband and fired three shots into the rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to the house. Officers responding to the call were unable to locate Alexis.

Workers at the construction site later told detectives that Alexis had "stared" at workers at the job site every day for a month prior to the shooting. The owner of the construction business said he thought Alexis was angry over the parking problems created by all the construction.

Officers eventually arrested Alexis outside his home on June 3.  Alexis told detectives he thought he had been "mocked" by the construction workers and that they had "disrespected him." He also claimed he had an angered-fueled "blackout" and could not remember firing his gun at the victims' car until an hour after the incident.

He also told police he had been present during "the tragic events of September 11, 2001" and described "how those events had disturbed him."

Alexis' grandmother and aunt still live in the Beacon Hill house. Some of the neighbors say they have seen the suspect in the area the last six months, but family members are quoted as saying they haven't seen him in the neighborhood in the past couple of years.

Alexis was later booked for Malicious Mischief, but the charges were later dropped on the condition he leave the victims alone, take anger management classes and pay damages done to their vehicle.

Detectives later spoke to Alexis' father, who lived in New York City. He told police Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts during the September 11 attacks and had anger management problems associated with Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The Seattle Police Department released the original incident report of the 2004 incident.

On May 5, 2007, Alexis enlisted in the Navy reserves, serving through 2011, according to Navy spokeswoman Lt. Megan Shutka.
  
Shutka said he received the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal during his stint in the reserves. Both are medals issued to large numbers of service members who served abroad and in the United States since the 9/11 attacks. Alexis' last assignment was as aviation electricians mate 3rd class at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Shutka said.
  
It was while he was still in the reserves that a neighbor in Fort Worth reported she had been nearly struck by a bullet shot from his downstairs apartment.
  
In September 2010, Fort Worth police questioned Alexis about the neighbor's report; he admitted to firing his weapon but said he was cleaning his gun when it accidentally discharged. He said he didn't call the police because he didn't think the bullet went through to the other apartment. The neighbor told police she was scared of Alexis and felt he fired intentionally because he had complained about her making too much noise.
  
Alexis was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits but Tarrant County district attorney's spokeswoman Melody McDonald Lanier said the case was not pursued after it was determined the gun discharged accidentally.
  
After leaving the reserves, Alexis worked as a waiter and delivery driver at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, according to Afton Bradley, a former co-worker. The two overlapped for about eight months before Alexis left in May, Bradley said.
  
"He was a very nice person," she said in a phone interview. "It kind of blows my mind away. I wouldn't think anything bad at all."
  
A former acquaintance, Oui Suthametewakul, said Alexis lived with him and his wife from August 2012 to May 2013 in Fort Worth, but that they had to part ways because he wasn't paying his bills. He described Alexis as a "nice guy" but said they had some differences.
  
Suthametewakul said Alexis had converted to Buddhism and was prayed at a local Buddhist temple.
  
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which offers online courses in aviation and aerospace, confirmed that Alexis was enrolled as an online student via its Fort Worth campus, started classes in July 2012 and pursuing a bachelor's of science in aeronautics.
  
"We are cooperating fully with investigating officials," the university said.

The FBI released a photo of Alexis and were asking the public for more information about the suspect. If you have any information about Alexis or the incident, please contact the FBI's Washington, DC Field Office at 202-278-2000 or 1-800-CALL-FBI.



 

Print
Email
|