Navy Yard Shooting Suspect Once ‘Terrified’ Neighbor

September 16, 2013 2:12 p.m.

The Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. Monday wasn’t the first time suspect Aaron Alexis was involved in a gun-related incident.

Police reports from Fort Worth, Texas, where the FBI said Alexis lived, described how he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly shooting a bullet into the home of a woman who lived upstairs from him in an apartment complex. An officer who arrived at the scene was told by the woman that she had a long history with Alexis and was “terrified” of him.

Authorities said Alexis was killed on Monday after he shot and killed 12 people and wounded others at the Navy Yard. Investigators late Monday had not yet said how Alexis had died.According to the earlier police report, the incident occurred on the evening of Sept. 4, 2010. The officer was dispatched to the apartment complex after the woman, who was unnamed in the report apart from being described in one instance as “June,” called the police and said she “heard a ‘pop’ & saw smoke & dust,” then noticed a “hole in her floor & another in her ceiling.” She told police she thought “someone just shot into her apartment.”

When she called police, the woman said she had not seen “anything or anyone” apart from the dust and holes. The officer who arrived on the scene and who was identified as “M. Medders” wrote in the report that the woman was still inside the apartment and “visibly shaken up” when the officer got there.

Medders wrote that the woman explained she “believed someone had shot a bullet through her apt.,” and that “no one from downstairs had come up to talk to her and she had not gone down” after seeing what she thought was the bullet. According to Medders, the woman then detailed a history of disputes she had with Alexis, her downstairs neighbor, and said she thought he fired the bullet into her apartment on purpose.

“She also told me that her downstairs neighbor ARR (Alexis,Aaron) has called the police several times on her for being loud however the police always said they didn’t hear anything and no action was taken. She said that several days ago Aaron confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise. June told me that she is terrified of Aaron and feels that this was done intentionally,” wrote Medders.

After speaking with the woman, Medders left her apartment and “attempted to make contact with Aaron 3 separate times by knocking on his door and I received no response.” After Medders was unable to get a response from Alexis, the fire department was called to potentially make a “forced entry” to his apartment to determine if anyone inside was hurt.

“When FD arrived Aaron came outside on his own. I made contact with Aaron who informed me that he did have a gun and he said that he was cleaning it when it went off. He said that he was trying to clean his gun while cooking and that his hands were slippery. He told me that he began to take the gun apart when his hands slipped and pulled the trigger discharging a round into the ceiling,” Medders wrote.

Medders wrote that Alexis was asked “why he didn’t call police or go check on the resident above him” after the gun went off.

“Aaron said that he didn’t think it went all the way through since he couldn’t see any light through the hole. In regards to the noise he said he thought that people would just think it was a firecracker,” wrote Medders. “I then asked why he wouldn’t answer the door when I knocked and he said that he thought it was just his upstairs neighbor and he didn’t want to talk to her because she is always making noise.”

Medders also noted that the gun “was taken apart at this time” and that “a gun cleaning kit was located next to the gun and the gun was covered in oil.” Alexis was subsequently arrested and accused of discharging a firearm within a municipality.

Mugshots linked to the Fort Worth report also match the photos released on Monday by the FBI (pictured above). Spokespeople for the Fort Worth police department did not respond on Monday to multiple requests for comment from TPM. The local Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney released a statement Monday confirming Alexis was arrested on Sept. 4, 2010 by Forth Worth Police “on accusations that he recklessly discharged a firearm inside the limits of a municipality.” The district attorney said charges were not filed in the case.

“It was determined that Alexis was cleaning a gun in his apartment when it accidentally went off. A bullet entered an apartment upstairs. No one was injured,” the prosecutor’s statement said. “After reviewing the facts presented by the police department, it was determined that the elements constituting recklessness under Texas law were not present and a case was not filed.”

A LinkedIn page that is no longer online appeared to have belonged to an Aaron Alexis in Texas. The portion of the page that was still visible in search results described him as having worked at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, as a “network tech” at a company called SinglePoint, and as having attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. According to the FBI, Alexis was a native of New York City.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Alexis served in the Navy from 2007 to 2011. The newspaper also reported Alexis spent three years living with a man named Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, who owns Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Texas.

Suthamtewakul described Alexis as “my best friend” and said he sometimes worked at the restaurant. Another man who spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Alexis was interested in Buddhism and went to a temple where he would “meditate in Thai and English.”

Though Suthamtewakul had kind words for his former roommate, Alexis’ name was also linked to another police report that identified Suthamtewakul as a victim. In that report, which was dated July 5, an officer said Suthamtewakul believed his “roomate put unknown substance in gas tank to damage vehicle.” It was unclear whether Alexis was the roommate Suthamtewakul thought had damaged the automobile. Though the report turned up in a search for Alexis’ name, his role in the case was not shown in the copy available online. There was no answer when TPM called the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant on Monday.

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