Profile of Washington navy yard gunman Aaron Alexis
Former reservist discharged from navy in 2011 after an incident in which neighbour complained he had shot into her apartment
Aaron Alexis, who the FBI believe to be responsible for the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard in the Southeast area of Washington, DC, is shown in this Fort Worth Police Department handout photo released last night. Photograph: Reuters
The man responsible for yesterday’s deadly rampage at the Washington navy yard was a subcontractor and former reservist who was arrested at least twice in the past for gun-related offences.
Aaron Alexis (34) was discharged from the navy in 2011 after an incident in which an upstairs neighbour complained that he had shot into the floor of her apartment.
But Alexis restored his connections with the navy when a professional services company subcontracted by Hewlett-Packard employed him on a navy IT project. His ID badge gained him access to the navy yard base on Monday, the FBI said.
According to the US navy, Alexis, whose home was listed as New York City, enrolled in the reserves in 2007. He was a navy aviation electrician’s mate third class from 1 February 2008 until he was discharged on 31 January 2011. He is listed as having received the national defense service medal and the global war on terrorism service medal.
In 2010, while he was based at Fort Worth in Texas, he was arrested after discharging a firearm. In 2004, police in Seattle questioned him after what they described as an “anger-fuelled shooting” involving the car of a construction worker.
Seattle police said last night that during their inquiries into the 2004 incident, Alexis’s father reported that he suffered from “anger management problems associated with PTSD, and that Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts on September 11th, 2001”.
The statement went on: “Following his arrest, Alexis told detectives he perceived he had been ‘mocked’ by construction workers the morning of the incident, and said they had ‘disrespected him’. Alexis also claimed he had an anger-fueled ‘blackout’ and could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident.
“Alexis also told police he was present during ‘the tragic events of September 11, 2001’ and described ‘how those events had disturbed him’,” the police statement said.
According to a Texas police report, Alexis was arrested in September 2010 on suspicion of discharging a firearm in a municipality, but not formally charged.
The police report from the time states that an officer was dispatched to Orion at Oak Hill, a large, gated apartment complex in west Fort Worth, after a woman called the police and said that she believed someone had fired a shot into her apartment.
According to the report, the woman was “visibly shaken up”. She said that Alexis was her downstairs neighbour, and that he had “called the police several times on her for being loud”. The woman reported that Alexis had confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise.
The report adds that the woman told the officer that she was “terrified” of Alexis and believed that the shot had been fired intentionally. The report states that the officer knocked on Alexis’s door but did not receive a response. He only emerged after the officer called the fire department to get them to forcibly enter the property.
Alexis claimed to have discharged the gun accidentally, the report says. “He said that he was trying to clean his gun while cooking and that his hands were slippery,” the witer of the report says. “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.”
In both instances, Alexis was not charged. Court records reviewed by the Associated Press how he was released on the condition he not have contact with any of the workers. In Texas, it was determinded that Alexis had discharged his gun by accident.