Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Aaron Alexis attained a spot in American mass shooting infamy on Monday by killing 12 civilians who worked at the Washington Navy Yard. But before Monday, who exactly was Aaron Alexis?
The 34-year-old was born in the Queens borough of New York City, and served as a Navy reservist from 2007 until 2011. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports while Alexis was in the military, he was reprimanded eight different times for misconduct.
An unnamed Navy official told The Los Angeles Times that Alexis's pattern of misconduct, along with two criminal arrests (for which he was never convicted) prompted the Navy to discharge Alexis when he requested to leave the service before his enlistment officially ended.
The official told The Times:
Because of the spate of disciplinary problems, Navy officials looked at giving him a general discharge, which is given to sailors with conduct problems whose performance otherwise is satisfactory. But after examining his record closely, they opted to give him an honorable discharge in January 2011.
An anonymous law enforcement official who spoke to The New York Times said Alexis had been suffering from mental health issues, like paranoia, for at least a decade, well before he joined the Navy:
“He had complained of hearing voices and ringing of the ears."
Alexis recently sought help for his mental illness at two different VA hospitals, according to CNN.
Ironically, friends of Alexis remember him an "easygoing" practicing Buddhist. His best friend, Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, told CNN:
"I can't believe he did this. He never showed any sign of violence."