The 34-year-old man whom investigators believe to be solely responsible for yesterday's massacre at the DC Navy Yard hails from Queens. Aaron Alexis's most recent residence was Fort Worth, Texas, but he grew up in Kew Gardens and attended Hillcrest HS.
According to the NY Post, he "bounced around" Brooklyn, Staten Island and Harlem, did clerical work at Borough of Manhattan Community College from 2001 until 2003, and joined the Navy in 2007. Yesterday he killed 12 and wounded three before he was fatally shot by police at the Naval Sea Systems Command building.
Alexis had been treated since August by the Veterans Administration for mental problems, but a friend says he was also upset over pay. He gained access to the facility using a legitimate civilian contractor's pass. A friend of Alexis told the AP “What he told me about three to four months ago (was) that they didn’t pay him on a new job as a government contractor or something. He didn’t get paid. They took him to Tokyo and there was no pay, and that’s what he stressed to me."
Alexis was discharged from the Navy in January 2011 after a “pattern of misconduct." He was a practicing Buddhist at a temple frequented by mostly Thai adherents, and one fellow congregant told the NY Post, "He thought he never got a promotion because of the color of his skin." Before joining the Navy he lived in Seattle for two years starting in 2004, and was arrested for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what he later described as an enraged “blackout.”
The AP reports that his father told Seattle detectives his son had anger management issues caused by post-traumatic stress brought on 9/11. While stationed in Fort Worth in 2010, his upstairs neighbor called police to say a bullet had been fired up through her floor. According to The Smoking Gun:
The round apparently first traveled through her home’s floor and then the ceiling. The woman, whose name is not listed in a Fort Worth Police Department report, said that she was “terrified” of Alexis, who had previously confronted her about making too much noise. The woman, who was “visibly shaken up” when questioned by police, said that she believed the shooting was “intentional.”
Yesterday the FBI questioned his mother, sister and brother-in-law, who live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. They were reportedly distraught, and say that Alexis has been estranged from the family for some time. His brother-in-law, who had never met Alexis, spoke to reporters outside the Bed-Stuy home yesterday, telling CBS 2, “When I got here, (the family was) very distraught, very stressed out, tears. They didn’t see it coming. It’s very hurtful. And their hearts are going out more to the victims.”
— Sonia Rincon (@SoniaRincon) September 16, 2013