The Free Press, Mankato, MN

September 16, 2013

Update: Texas man accused in Navy Yard shooting

By Deanna Boyd, Bill Hanna and Bud Kennedy
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (MCT)

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The Navy says a gunman who opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard was a full-time reservist from 2007 to 2011.

The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, 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. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.

Alexis was one of 13 people killed during the rampage.

Alexis, 34, was found dead at the site of the Monday morning shooting in Washington. Police say they do not have a motive for the shootings.

Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, owner of Happy Bowl Thai in White Settlement, a Fort Worth suburb, said Alexis was “my best friend.”

“He lived with me three years,” Suthamtewakul said Monday afternoon. “I don’t think he’d do this. He has a gun, but I don’t think he’s that stupid. He didn’t seem aggressive to me.”

Alexis was working for a computer contractor, Suthamtewakul said.

Records show that Alexis was arrested in September 2010 for discharging a firearm within a municipality.

According to a Fort Worth police report, police had been dispatched to the Oak Hills apartments about 6:40 p.m. Sept 4, 2010, on a report that someone had fired a shot through the floor and into the ceiling of a woman’s apartment.

The woman told police she had been sitting in a chair when she heard a loud pop and saw dust.

“She then saw that there was a hole in her floor just a couple of feet from where she was sitting while shredding papers and a hole in the ceiling,” the report states. “She told me that she believed someone had shot a bullet through her apartment.”

The woman told police that Alexis, her downstairs neighbor, did not come up to check on her after the shooting. She said Alexis had called police on her several times in the past for “being loud” but that police never heard anything and therefore, no action was taken.

“She said that several days ago Aaron confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise,” the report states.

The woman told police that she was “terrified” of Alexis and felt the shooting was done intentionally.

The report states police attempted to contact Alexis at his apartment but received no response.

Fearing someone could be hurt, police had called the fire department to the scene to attempt to force entry into the man’s apartment. When firefighters arrived on the scene, however, Alexis came outside voluntarily and told officers he had been cleaning his gun when it went off.

“He said that he was trying to clean his gun while cooking and that his hands were slippery. 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 report states.

“When asked why he didn’t call police or go check on the resident above him, Aaron said that he didn’t think it went all the way through since he couldn’t see any light through the hole,” the report states.

Alexis told police he thought people would dismiss the noise as a firecracker.

“I think asked why he wouldn’t answer the door when I knocked and he said that he thought it was just his upstairs neighbor and he didn’t want to talk to her because she is always making noise,” the report states.

Police observed the dismantled, oil-covered gun in the apartment with a gun cleaning kit nearby, the report states.

Police arrested Alexis at the scene on suspicion of discharging a firearm in a municipality. He was released from jail the next day, Tarrant County records show, and was never formally charged in the case.

The Orion at Oak Hill apartments in Fort Worth began eviction efforts against Alexis later in September 2010. Records show that he moved from the Oak Hill apartments in December 2010.

Alexis, whose most recent address was 7940 White Settlement Road in Fort Worth, had not lived there for six to eight months, said his landlord, Somsak Srisan.

“Oh boy, I can’t believe this,” Srisan said. “He was always very polite to me.”

Srisan believed Alexis lived alone at the White Settlement house.

“When he lived at my house, I never see him get angry about anything,” Srisan said. “My feeling is if he was angry about anything, he didn’t show that to me.”

He had seen Alexis meditate and said he always remained calm around him.

“I can’t believe he would do anything like this,” Srisan said. “He always behaved well around me.”

He had previously lived in Flushing, N.Y., from 2000 to 2002. It is unclear where he lived from 2002 until he moved to Fort Worth.

 

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