Aaron Alexis: Navy Yard Terrorist
Aaron Alexis had mental issues, he heard voices, that much is obvious from the media coverage.:
When the criminal is non-Muslim, in this case Alexis was a practicing Buddhist (you know they never commit violence), there is never an assumption or discussion on whether he or she is a “terrorist,” such explanations are reserved for Muslims. Alexis killed as many people as Nidal Hassan.
One of the more responsible news reports I have seen was carried by AlJazeera America.:
Aaron Alexis — the man authorities allege was behind the Navy Yard shooting that left him and 12 other people dead in Washington Monday — seems a study in contradictions. He was a Defense Department contractor, former Navy reservist, convert to Buddhism and an online student of aeronautics who had flashes of temper that led to run-ins with the law.
At the time of Monday’s shooting, the 34-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, worked at the Washington Navy Yard as an information-technology contractor. His employer, The Experts, was a subcontractor of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services. Alexis had no apparent misconduct issues, according to The Experts CEO Thomas Hoshko.
From 2007 to 2011, he served as a full-time Navy reservist working in the Fleet Logistics Support unit at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, a military document sent to Al Jazeera revealed. Before being given a general discharge, he had risen to the rank of Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class and received the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
In 2012, Alexis enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics.
Still, Alexis wasn’t without his problems.
He was treated in August by Veterans Affairs for unspecified mental health issues, and had, according to unnamed officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, been suffering from paranoia, a sleep disoder and was “hearing voices.”
The Navy had not declared Alexis mentally unfit, according to AP, which would have rescinded a security clearance he had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.
And Alexis’ problems extended back further: While living in Seattle in 2004, Alexis was arrested for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what he later described to police as an anger-fueled “blackout” possibly triggered by a vehicle-parking dispute. Alexis also told police that he was present during “the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001″ and described “how those events had disturbed him,” Seattle police said.
In 2010, Alexis had a second run-in with the law when Fort Worth police arrested him after a neighbor alleged that he had shot a bullet into her apartment. While Alexis admitted to firing his weapon, he said that it was an accidental discharge that occurred while he was cleaning his gun. Though his neighbor argued that the discharge was intentional, police ruled it an accident and did not pursue the case.
Nevertheless, friends and acquaintances found Alexis affable.
Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, owner of Happy Bowl Thai in White Settlement, Texas, told Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro that he and Alexis lived together for about three years and that the alleged shooter, who he described as a “close friend,” worked as a waiter at his restaurant before taking up work with The Experts.
Oui Suthametewakul, an acquaintance, described Alexis as a “nice guy” and devoted Buddhist, but said he sometimes carried a gun and would frequently complain about being the victim of discrimination.
“We are all shocked,” said Ty Thairintr, a congregant at Wat Budsaya, a Buddhist temple in Fort Worth.
“We are nonviolent. Aaron was a very good practitioner of Buddhism. He could chant better than even some of the Thai congregants,” Thairintr said.
Thairintr said Alexis told him he was upset with the Navy because “he thought he never got a promotion because of the color of his skin. He hated his commander.”
Another friend, Michael Ritavato, who worked as a handyman for the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant, said he was shocked about what happened and that Alexis “seemed like a really nice guy.”
“The only negative thing I could say he played video games all the times — the shooting kind,” he said.
Ritavato also recalled one of their last conversations in which Alexis told him that he was frustrated with The Experts because he wasn’t receiving all of his salary.
Investigators, however, have yet to determine a motive for Monday’s shooting spree.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press