Aaron Alexis: Mystery Man
The 34-year-old Texan who carried out this week’s deadly shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard (alone, apparently) is a former U.S. Navy technician who was discharged in January 2011 due to discipline problems.
“There is definitely a pattern of misconduct during his service,” a military officer said of Aaron Alexis, who is now considered the lone gunman in the Navy Yard attack that killed twelve people and wounded eight others.
Alexis was shot and killed during the attack.
Prior to his discharge, Alexis obtained the rank of Aviation Electrician´s Mate Third Class. At the time of the shooting, he was working as an information technology consultant for a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard. It’s not yet clear whether this position afforded him access to the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters – where the shooting occurred.
According to the Associated Press, law enforcement sources described Alexis as suffering from paranoia as well as a sleep disorder. These sources say Alexis “heard voices in his head” and had been receiving treatment over the last few weeks courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition to his military discipline issues, Alexis was also previously investigated for firearm-related incidents in Forth Worth, Texas and Seattle, Washington. In the Seattle incident – which took place in 2004 – Alexis fired three shots into the parked car of one of his co-workers. According to police reports Alexis claimed the worker had “mocked” and “disrespected” him.
Six years later he fired a shot into the apartment of an upstairs neighbor after previously complaining about noise emanating from her apartment.
Those who knew Alexis are divided as to the sort of person he was … on the one hand, some are describing him as a brooding malcontent who felt “slighted” by the world. Others remember him as a kind, intelligent disciple of Buddha – who was adept at chanting in Thai and one day planned to become a Buddhist monk.
No theory has yet emerged regarding Alexis’ motivation for carrying out such an attack.
“We’ll continue to seek information about what the motive is,” Washington D.C. mayor Vincent Gray said. “We don’t have any reason at this stage to suspect terrorism, but certainly it has not been ruled out.”