Navy Yard Shooter Treated for "Hearing Voices," Other Mental Illnesses

More details have emerged about the troubled life of Aaron Alexis, the man who allegedly shot 12 people to death Monday morning at the Washington Navy Yard. In addition to his discharge from the Navy and multiple arrests, Alexis reportedly had a long history of mental illness.

Sources told NBC News that Alexis had been treated multiple times for psychological issues like anger, sleep deprivation, and paranoia, and the Associated Press is reporting that Alexis was treated by the Veterans Administration for “hearing voices,” among other problems.

The mental illness issues, coupled with his “general discharge” from the Navy in 2011 (reportedly for a “pattern of misconduct”) [UPDATE: The Washington Post is now reporting that Alexis's discharge was "honorable"] and arrests for violent behavior involving firearms probably should have prevented him from gaining clearance to the secure-areas like the Navy Yard, but they weren't; Alexis, who had just moved to Washington D.C. this month to work as an hourly computer contractor for a company called The Experts, had “legitimate access” to the naval headquarters, according to an FBI spokeswoman.


"He did have a secret clearance. And he did have a CAC (common access card)," Thomas Hoshko, CEO of The Experts Inc, told Reuters, adding that Alexis worked from the company from September 2012 to January 2013. "We had just recently re-hired him. Another background investigation was re-run and cleared through the defense security service in July 2013.”

Hoshko also said he believed Alexis had high-level security clearance going back to 2007.


Alexis reportedly used a shotgun he purchased legally last week in Virginia in the shooting, smuggling the weapon in his car past security. He then picked up two other weapons — a pistol and an AR-15 style assault rifle [UPDATE: he reportedly used two handguns, not an AR-15] — during his shooting spree, one from a police officer and the other from a secure location in the building, according to authorities who spoke with NBC News.

One possible reason Alexis' arrest history didn't raise any red flags is that the paperwork for his 2004 arrest in Seattle, for shooting out a co-workers tires with a Glock pistol, was lost.

“That report never got to the Seattle city attorney’s office,” Kimberly Mills, a spokeswoman for the city attorney, told the Washington Post. “Consequently, we never filed charges.”

[Images via AP]

Gunman in Navy Yard Shooting Identified as Aaron Alexis

Officials have identified Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old from Texas, as a gunman in this morning's shooting at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard. Alexis, who was recently hired as a civilian contractor by the Navy, allegedly used a rifle, an AR-15 assault rifle, and a handgun to kill at least 12 people Monday morning at the naval headquarters. Alexis was also killed at the scene.

A native of Fort Worth, Alexis reportedly worked for a computer contractor at the Navy Yard. The Star-Telegram discovered a 2010 police report stating that an Aaron Alexis was arrested in 2010 for discharging a firearm within a municipality. From the Star-Telegram:

According to a Fort Worth police report, police had been dispatched to the Oak Hills apartments about 6:40 p.m. Sept 4, 2010, on a report that someone had fired a shot through the floor and into the ceiling of a woman’s apartment.

The woman told police she had been sitting in a chair when she heard a loud pop and saw dust.

“She then saw that there was a hole in her floor just a couple of feet from where she was sitting while shredding papers and a hole in the ceiling,” the report states. “She told me that she believed someone had shot a bullet through her apartment.”

The woman told police that Alexis, her downstairs neighbor, did not come up to check on her after the shooting. She said Alexis had called police on her several times in the past for “being loud” but that police never heard anything and therefore, no action was taken.

“She said that several days ago Aaron confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise,” the report states.

The woman told police that she was “terrified” of Alexis and felt the shooting was done intentionally.

The Star-Telegram also spoke with a man who claims to be Alexis's former roommate. “He lived with me three years,” Nutpisit 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.”


And a former friend described Alexis as a devout Buddhist. “He loved to go to temple, go to meditate in Thai and English,” the friend said. “He could do both of them.”

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that Alexis was a former full-time Navy reservist:


The Navy said in a release Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, of Texas, left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It's not immediately clear why he left.

Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.

And according to CBS News, Alexis was arrested a second time, in Seattle for malicious mischief. CBS News also reports that Alexis was "carrying an ID card belonging to Rollie Chance, who was placed on administrative leave last October." Chance told officials he does not know Alexis.

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