By Mary Stachyra Lopez
The suspect killed in the Washington Navy Yard shooting rampage was identified as Navy veteran Aaron Alexis, 34, who apparently used his status as a contractor to gain access to the complex in Southeast Washington.
Alexis was killed during a Monday morning shooting rampage at the Navy Yard that left at least 12 other people dead.
Alexis was apparently arrested, but never convicted, on a previous weapons charge but he had also been awarded a National Defense Service Medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal by the Navy.
He joined the Navy as a recruit in May 2007 in Great Lakes, IL, eventually making his way to the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron in Fort Worth, Texas. He achieved the rank of Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class / AE3 on Dec. 16, 2009.
According to The Washington Post, which quoted his aunt, Helen Weeks, Aaron Alexis grew up in Brooklyn with his mother Sarah and father, Anthony Alexis.
“We haven’t seen him for years,” Weeks told the paper in a telephone interview. “I know he was in the military. He served abroad. I think he was doing some kind of computer work.”
Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, owner of Happy Bowl Thai restaurant near Fort Worth, told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram Alexis was “my best friend.”
“He lived with me three years,” Suthamtewakul said. “I don’t think he’d do this. He has a gun, but I don’t think he’s that stupid. He didn’t seem aggressive to me.”
Suthamtewakul apparently didn't know that Alexis had been killed. “ ‘Wait, he’s dead?," the paper quoted him as saying. "I call him, but he doesn’t answer phone.”
Information with the picture of Aaron Alexis, posted on MugshotsOnline.com, says he was arrested in 2010 for "discharge of firearm in certain municipalities" in Fort Worth, Texas.
According to NBC, a neighbor called police “after hearing a bullet rip through her floor and ceiling. He told police he had been cleaning the weapon when it slipped and accidentally pulled the trigger. They filed the police with the district attorney’s office but charges were never filed.”