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The FBI has identified 34-year-old Aaron Alexis of Fort Worth, Tex., as the primary suspect in the shooting at Washington Navy Yard Monday morning that claimed the lives of 12 others. While it is not yet known whether Alexis worked alone or what his motives could have been, details have emerged about the man and his violent history.
Alexis is a native of Queens, New York, who has served as an aviation electrician's mate 3rd class for the U.S. Navy in Fort Worth, Tex., from 2007 to 2011. He is listed as having received the national defense service medal and the global war on terrorism service medal.
Immediately after his discharge, he worked as a waiter and delivery driver at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, until May 2013.
"He was a very nice person,'' said Afton Bradley, a former co-worker at the Thai restaurant. "It kind of blows my mind away.''
Defense officials say he worked for The Experts, a subcontractor on an HP Enterprise Services contract to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network. As a contractor, he may have had the credentials to access to the Navy Yard, but reports have indicated that he used another person's ID to enter the base on Monday.
Alexis has a history of gun-related crime. He was arrested in Seattle in 2004, in an incident that was described as "anger-fueled." He shot out the rear tires of a 1986 Honda Accord because of a parking conflict with a construction site near his home. Police booked him on a charge of malicious mischief.
Seattle police say that, in their incident report, Alexis' father testified that he suffered from "anger management problems associated with PTSD, and that Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts on September 11, 2001." That information has not been confirmed.
He was also arrested in Forth Worth in September 2010 after discharging a weapon into the apartment of his upstairs neighbor. At the time, he claimed that it was accidental discharge while he was cleaning the weapon. The neighbor, into whose apartment he fired the gun, reported that she was "terrified of Aaron," and that he had loudly confronted her several days earlier for making too much noise.
The FBI is currently seeking information from the public on Alexis. If you have any information, you're urged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.