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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM

SPD: Navy Yard shooter arrested in Seattle in 2004 for shooting

Booking mug of Aaron Alexis, arrested in September 2010 in Texas, on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city limits.(Fort Worth Police Department via Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Booking mug of Aaron Alexis, arrested in September 2010 in Texas, on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the city limits.(Fort Worth Police Department via Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Aaron Alexis, the man identified as the Washington Navy Yard shooter, was arrested by Seattle police in 2004 for shooting out the tires of a construction worker’s car in what Alexis later described as an anger-fueled “blackout,” police said. Alexis attributed his action to trauma he witnessed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to Seattle police.

To read the incident report, click here.

At about 8 a.m. on May 6, 2004, two construction workers had parked their 1986 Honda Accord in the driveway of their work site, next to a home where Alexis was living with his grandmother in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, according to a Seattle Police Department report.

Workers were at the construction site when a man, later identified as Alexis, walked  out of the home, pulled a gun from his waistband and fired two shots into the two rear tires of their Honda before he walked slowly back to his home north of the construction site, the report said. One shot was fired into the air. Police collected three spent  .45-caliber Glock shell casings at the site.

Alexis held a permit for a .45-caliber Glock pistol, according to the police report. Detectives later found the pistol and ammunition in a bedroom of the home where Alexis lived.

Alexis “confessed to the crime of discharging his weapon for the purpose of shooting out the tires” on the car, the report said.

After  his arrest on June 3, 2004, Alexis told detectives he perceived that he had been mocked by the victim before the shooting, when he discovered his car had been tampered with earlier that morning. Alexis said he had been “disrespected,” leading to a “black-out” fueled by anger, according to the police report.

In addition, Alexis said could not remember firing his gun at the victims’ vehicle until an hour after the incident, police said.

Alexis, who was booked into jail for investigation of malicious mischief, also told police he was present during “the tragic events of September 11, 2001″ and described “how those events had disturbed him,” according to the police report.

Detectives later spoke with Alexis’ father, who lived in New York at the time, who told police Alexis had anger management problems associated with post-traumatic stress  disorder and that Alexis had been an active participant in rescue attempts on Sept. 11.

Workers and the manager at the construction site told police Alexis had “stared” at workers over the previous month. The owner of the construction business told police he believed Alexis was angry over the parking situation at the site..

Police referred the case to what they described in paperwork as Seattle Municipal Court.

But the Seattle City Attorney’s Office said Monday that it never received a police report documenting the malicious mischief.

“Thus, we didn’t review it for possible charges,”  spokeswoman Kimberly Mills said in an email.

Alexis, 34, lived in Seattle, Bellevue and in Fort Worth, Texas, according to public records. He was a full-time reservist with the Navy from 2007 to 2011, according to The Associated Press.

A relative of Alexis who lives in Seattle said she hadn’t seen him in several years.

“We haven’t seen him for years,” said Helen Weekes of her nephew in a telephone interview with the Washington Post. “I know he was in the military. He served abroad. I think he was doing some kind of computer work.”

Weekes, who lives in Seattle, said that Alexis had grown up in New York, including in Brooklyn and Queens.

Weekes said she was receiving constant media calls Monday afternoon in which reporters asked her if she knew if Alexis had been involved in a shooting in Washington, D.C. She said she had not been contacted by police.

“I’d be shocked if it was him, but I don’t know,” she said, her voice trailing off.

The Navy said in a release Monday that Alexis left the Navy on Jan. 31, 2011, as a petty officer 3rd class. It’s not immediately clear why he left.

Alexis had been working for the fleet logistics support squadron No. 46, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Navy says his home of record was New York City.

Alexis was one of 13 people killed during Monday’s rampage in D.C..

Records show Alexis was involved in a two-car collision on northbound Interstate 405 in March 2005. Records show he had no insurance at the time. He was fined $600.

Records show at the time he lived at a home on 13th Avenue South in Seattle’s Georgetown area. There was no answer at the home this afternoon, and neighbors say they cannot remember Alexis.

Alexis also previously lived in Bellevue, in an apartment on 107the Avenue Southeast.

Alexis was arrested in Fort Worth on Sept. 5, 2010, for discharging a gun in the Fort Worth city limits, according to The Associated Press. But Melody McDonald, spokesperson for the Tarrant County District Attorney, says he was never charged with a crime in Tarrant County.

She says finding more information about the case will take time: “We have to find out what kind of case it was, who it went to. But he never had a pending case in this office.”

Alexis was released from Fort Worth city jail the same day he was arrested, The Associated Press reports.

“He has never been charged with a crime in Tarrant County,” says McDonald, “at least not as an adult.”

Meanwhile, the FBI is asking people to contact them if anyone knows anything about Alexis.





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