Friday, November 24, 2017
News Roundup

Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was discharged from Reserve

RECOMMENDED READING


WASHINGTON — Aaron Alexis lived for a time in a rented bungalow near a Buddhist temple in Fort Worth, Texas, where he occasionally joined Thai immigrants in meditation. Alexis died Monday in a gunbattle with police in a building at the Washington Navy Yard.

In between, the man named as the shooter in Monday's mass shooting at Navy Yard Building 197 was discharged from the Navy Reserve, arrested for shooting a bullet into his downstairs neighbor's apartment and then asked to leave his Fort Worth apartment.

Alexis was discharged in January 2011 for "a pattern of misconduct" and the 2010 gun incident in Texas played a role in his departure, the Washington Post reported, citing an unnamed Navy official.

Another Navy official said Alexis was given a "general discharge," a classification often used to designate a blemished record of performance. In some cases, a general discharge can make it difficult to land a civilian job.

Alexis, 34, arrived in Washington about four months ago, friends said. He had worked recently for a defense contractor called the Experts, a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract to work on the Navy Marine Corps' Intranet network, said Hewlett-Packard spokesman Michael Thacker. Officials at the Experts did not immediately return phone messages.

It was unclear if Alexis was still employed by that subcontractor, or if his work had brought him to the Navy Yard.

Investigators Monday night were examining how Alexis got into the Navy Yard, and whether he had or used the identification card of a former Navy petty officer that was found near Alexis' body after police killed him.

Those who knew Alexis in recent years described him:

• "A good boy," said Srisan Somsak, his landlord in Fort Worth.

• Someone who was "very aggressive," someone who seemed like he might one day kill himself, said J. Sirun, an assistant to the monks at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshipped.

Alexis grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his mother, Sarah, and father, Anthony Alexis, according to his aunt Helen Weeks.

"We haven't seen him for years," Weeks said in a phone interview. "I know he was in the military. He served abroad. I think he was doing some kind of computer work."

In 2004, Alexis was arrested in Seattle after he fired three shots from a Glock pistol into the tires of a Honda Accord that two construction workers had parked in a driveway adjacent to Alexis' house.

Alexis' father told Seattle detectives then that his son "had experienced anger management problems that the family believed was associated with PTSD," or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the police report. The father said Alexis "was an active participant in rescue attempts of Sept. 11, 2001."

Alexis' own explanation for his behavior that day in Seattle: The construction workers had "mocked" and "disrespected" him and then he had had "a blackout fueled by anger."

Alexis was not charged in the Seattle incident.

More recently, Alexis struck those who crossed his path as a man of sharp contrasts. He studied the Thai language and visited Thailand for a month.

He was studying for an online degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The university in Daytona Beach said Alexis enrolled in July 2012, via the school's Fort Worth campus. He remained a student in good standing, said Melanie Hanns, director of university communications.

Alexis spent nearly four years in the Navy as a full-time reservist from May 2007 until he was discharged in January 2011, according to a summary of personnel records released by the Navy. He achieved his final rank of Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class in December 2009.

Alexis spent the bulk of his service time — from 2008 to 2011 — assigned to the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 46 at Naval Air Station Fort Worth, records show. He was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal — two awards of minor distinction.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Alexis worked as a defense contractor after his discharge. A deleted LinkedIn page under Alexis' name listed SinglePoint Technologies, a Richmond, Va., firm, as his employer; the company did not return a call seeking comment.

On Monday, as word spread about the shooting, Wat Busayadhammavanaram Meditation Center in Fort Worth filled with members eager to share their recollections of Alexis.

"They don't believed it that he could kill 12 people like that," said Somsak, the landlord who met Alexis at the temple. "I think probably somebody tried to put him down. I don't know. Did somebody try to discriminate against him? That's the only way. That's what I keep thinking."

Somsak asked Alexis only once about why he had left his job at the naval base. It was a brief conversation.

"I asked him, 'Why you quit the job with the government?' " Somsak said. "He said, 'Somebody doesn't like me.' "

 
Comments
Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

 
Updated: 9 hours ago

Updated: 9 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Published: 11/23/17

Pasco County put under immediate tornado warning

The National Weather Service has put out a tornado warning for Pasco County. Thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado and strong winds are expected over Jasmine Estates, New Port Richey and Hudson until 1:15 p.m., according to the NWS warning. Ba...
Published: 11/23/17
Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

It’s going to be a wet Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay, but sunny skies are coming during the long weekend, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10...
Published: 11/23/17