Who Is Aaron Alexis, The Navy Yard Shooter?

It's been barely 24 hours since the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yards, but several details have emerged about Aaron Alexis, the alleged gunman. The 34-year-old Alexis, identified as the man who shot and killed 12 people yesterday, was a Navy contractor who had lived in Texas until very recently. It's not certain if Alexis, who was killed during an ensuing shootout with police, acted alone. One at-large suspect remains to be cleared. We still don't know exactly what types of guns were used in the incident. And, most importantly, we still don't know his motive. But as further reports come in, we can start to draw a rough sketch of the alleged shooter.

His Military and Contracting Background
Before becoming a contractor, Alexis was a full-time Navy reservist who was honorably discharged in 2011 after a "pattern of misconduct." As a Navy Petty Officer Third Class, Alexis did not serve overseas, but he did receive the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal while in the service. Until yesterday, Alexis worked as a contractor for Hewlett-Packard, which provided equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) network.

His Mental Health History
The AP reports that Alexis had been "suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder," as well as hearing voices in his head, according to anonymous US law enforcement officials. He had been undergoing treatment since August. The Navy, however, had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have revoked his security clearance that allowed him on to the Navy Yards.

His Criminal History
Several news outlets have pointed to Alexis' 2010 arrest for discharging a firearm into his neighbor's apartment in Fort Worth, TX, for which he was not prosecuted. In 2004, Alexis was also arrested for shooting out the tires on a car belonging to construction workers who had been working next to a Seattle home he had been living in at the time. When interviewed by police, Alexis claimed he had been mocked and disrespected by the construction workers, and that he had committed the shooting in a "blackout", the details of which he could not remember until hours later. Alexis' father told police that he believed his son had anger issues stemming from PTSD, a result of the fact that Alexis had been part of the rescue attempts in New York on September 11, 2001.

His Life Before the Military
Alexis was born in Queens, NY, and at one point worked in a Thai restaurant in Fort Worth, TX. He also taught himself the Thai language and became a Buddhist, an regularly attended a Buddhist meditation center. One worker there, however, reported that he was "tightly wound" and avoided him. (The Guardian)

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