Aaron Alexis, Navy Yard Shooter, Known for TroubleBy: Erika Watts - September 17, 2013
The day after the vicious shooting in the Washington Navy Yard left at least 13 dead and more injured, people have one question: Who is Aaron Alexis, the man who was allegedly involved in the shooting?
Aaron Alexis, 34, died yesterday after exchanging gunfire with police. According to his LinkedIn profile, Alexis attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and worked as a network technician at SinglePoint Technologies. Alexis joined the Navy Reserves in 2007 just before he turned 28. After receiving a defense service medal and the global war on terrorism service medal, Alexis was discharged in 2011. This all sounds innocent enough–even commendable–but Alexis was known for trouble and for misusing firearms before the deadly Navy Yard shooting on September 16.
According to information released by the Seattle Police Department, they are receiving “numerous inquiries” about Alexis because of his arrest record there. The Navy Yard shooter was arrested after shooting another person’s car in 2004. Alexis told police that the person “disrespected” him, which led to a blackout and the shooting, which he said he didn’t remember at the time. See the police report here.
The Seattle police also said that Alexis’s father said he had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from rescue efforts during 9/11. Some friends of Alexis have also confirmed that he had PTSD, but say he never directed his anger at them, but that he did struggle with “being black.” Nutpisit Suthamtewakul and his wife Kristi were close to Alexis and said he was frustrated with how he had been treated in the past. “He had a couple of issues with being black. He felt he hadn’t been treated right, not by the Navy, just generally. He didn’t have a lot of friends–me, my wife and family, and people from temple,” Suthamtewakul said.
Suthamtewakul also described the Navy Yard shooter as being “smart” and “nice,” but did say that Alexis got into some trouble after firing a gun in their home in 2010. Alexis was cleaning his gun when a shot went off through one of the walls of Suthamtewakul’s home. He was arrested, but claimed the incident was an accident. Suthamtewakul said the most troubling thing about Alexis was his passion for violent video games.
“He could be in the game all day and all night. I think games might be what pushed him that way. He always had this fear people would steal his stuff so that’s why he would carry his gun all the time. He would carry it when he was helping out in the restaurant which scared my customers,” Suthamtewakul said.
These revelations about Alexis have prompted many people to discuss how much impact violent video games has on tragic events, as well as gun control laws. Alexis reportedly used an AR-15 assault rifle during the shootings, the same rifle Adam Lanza used in the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shootings.
Do you think that the Navy Yard shooting should generate more discussion on guns laws and video games among lawmakers, or is this another case that needs more focus on mental health issues? Post your comments below.