The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Monday that 34-year-old Aaron Alexis used a valid pass to enter the Navy Yard premises Monday, where he shot and killed 12 people and injured more. The shooter himself was killed in a gun battle with the police.
Alexis worked for The Experts, a subcontractor on an Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services contract, to refresh equipment used on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet network. He was able to obtain a valid pass to the Navy Yard through his work as a contractor. The Washington Post reports Alexis was scheduled to begin working at the Washington Navy Yard this month.
The company said on its website, “The Experts would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies regarding the incident that occurred at the DC Naval Yards. We are actively cooperating with the FBI and other authorities in relation to the investigation on the suspect. Any additional information we have will be shared accordingly.”
The Navy reports Alexis served in the Navy for four years, beginning in 2007. Navy Spokeswoman Lt. Megan Shutka said Alexis received the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal during his time in the Reserves.
Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that Alexis had been suffering a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder. He also had been hearing voices in his head, the officials said.
Alexis had been receiving treatment for his mental problems since August from Veterans Affairs. The Navy had not declared him mentally unfit, which would have rescinded the security clearance Alexis had from his earlier time in the Navy Reserves.
Alexis had a string of misconduct problems during his nearly four years in the military, but he received an honorable discharge, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The officials told the Associated Press Alexis had bouts of insubordination, disorderly conduct and was sometimes absent from work without authorization. The offenses occurred mainly when he was serving in Fort Worth, Texas, from 2008-2011, and were enough to prompt Navy officials to grant him an early discharge through a special program for enlisted personnel.
Officials said the bad conduct was enough to make it clear Alexis would not be a good sailor, but not enough to warrant a general or less-than-honorable discharge. They also did not involve criminal offenses, so did not trigger any court-martial proceedings.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his record publicly.
In September 2010, Alexis was arrested in Texas on suspicion of discharging a firearm within city limits after a neighbor reported she was nearly shot by a bullet fired from his downstairs apartment. He told police his gun accidentally discharged while he was cleaning it, and no charges were filed.
In May 2004, he was arrested in Seattle for shooting out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what he later described to detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout.”
At the time of the shooting, Alexis was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics via online classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
He had also converted to Buddhism. His friends said he wanted to become an ordained monk, according to the Associated Press.
On DoD focuses on the programs and policies that affect the Defense Department. Each week, Defense Reporter Jared Serbu speaks one-on-one and in depth with the people responsible for managing the inner workings of the federal government's largest department, and those who know it best.