D.C. shooting suspect had police record in Wash. state

Credit: FBI / NBC

D.C. shooting suspect had police record in Wash. state

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by KGW Staff & Associated Press

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kgw.com

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 17 at 9:13 AM

WASHINGTON -- The suspected shooter in the deadly attack Monday morning inside the Washington Navy Yard used to live in Seattle and Bellevue, according to a Seattle Police Department report obtained by KGW.

Authorities believe Aaron Alexis sprayed gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation's capital. At least 13 people were found dead inside, including Alexis.

Photos: Shooting scene at D.C. Navy Yard

Alexis has a criminal record in Washington state, as first reported by The Seattle Times.

 The Seattle police report said that Alexis was arrested in 2004 for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle. Alexis claimed he had an anger-fueled “blackout,” and could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident, according to police.

Two construction workers told police that Aaron Alexis walked out of a home next door on May 6, 2004, pulled a pistol from his waistband and fired three shots into the rear tires of their parked car. Alexis later told police he thought the victims had "disrespected him."

Court records show he was released on the condition he not have contact with any of the construction workers. Seattle police said in a statement Monday that detectives later spoke with Alexis' father, who told police Alexis had anger management problems associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and had participated in rescue attempts on Sept. 11th, 2001.

No motive yet in D.C. rampage

Investigators in Monday's D.C. shooting have not established a motive for the rampage, which unfolded less than four miles from the White House. As for whether it may have been a terrorist attack, Mayor Vincent Gray said: "We don't have any reason to think that at this stage."

The FBI took charge of the investigation. The dead gunman was identified as Aaron Alexis by two federal law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

One of those officials said Alexis, 34, was from Texas and is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else's identification card. It is not yet clear if that person was an accomplice or if the ID was stolen.

Alexis had a checkered past

At the time of the shootings, he worked for The Experts, a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network.

His life over the past decade has been checkered.

Alexis lived in Seattle in 2004 and 2005, according to public documents. In 2004, Seattle police said, Alexis was arrested for shooting out the tires of another man's vehicle in what he later described to detectives as an anger-fueled "blackout." According to an account on the department's website, two construction workers had parked their Honda Accord in the driveway of their worksite, next to a home where Alexis was staying. The workers 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 rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to his home.

When detectives interviewed workers at the construction site, they told police Alexis had stared at construction workers at the job site daily for several weeks prior to the shooting. The owner of the construction business told police he believed Alexis was angry over the parking situation around the site.

Police eventually arrested Alexis, searched his home, found a gun and ammunition in his room, and booked him into the King County Jail for malicious mischief.

Alexis also told police he was present during "the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001" and described "how those events had disturbed him."

Then, on May 5, 2007, he 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.

Having traveled to Thailand, Alexis learned some Thai and could speak to Thai customers in their native language.

"He was a very nice person," Bradley 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. Alexis was a "nice guy," Suthametewakul said, though he sometimes carried a gun and would frequently complain about being the victim of discrimination.

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.

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