HOUSTON — Some people who knew the alleged Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, from his days in Fort Worth, Texas were surprised when they heard the news about him Monday. He is especially well remembered among people in the city's Thai community.
Few people in Fort Worth remember the 34-year-old black man who liked Thai food, practiced meditation in a Buddhist temple, and sometimes played with guns in his apartment.
A woman who lived in an apartment above Alexis called police after hearing a shot and seeing a bullet hole in her floor. Fort Worth police reports show that officers came to his apartment shortly after the incident three years ago and questioned him. He told them his gun went off accidentally and that he didn't report it because he didn't think the bullet had penetrated the apartment above. He was detained overnight for firing a gun within city limits.
Alexis was later evicted from the apartment and went to live in a house owned by a Thai friend. He also worked for a time at a Thai restaurant called The Happy Bowl. He visited Thailand, learned some of the language and befriended many in the Fort Worth Thai community.
Tiki Confer, the owner of the Thai Bangkok House restaurant, knew Alexis. She says the news about him allegedly shooting people in the nation's capital took her by surprise.
"I was shocked because I did not know that he was in Washington, D.C. or anything,” she said.
Confer says she had a good impression of him.
"I saw him a couple of times, come to eat in my restaurant, you know, to eat, party and chat. That was in like 2008. It wasn't recently. He was a very nice, quiet boy at the time," she said.
Alexis joined the Navy Reserves in 2007 and left in January, 2011 after several incidents of misconduct and arrests.
There was at least one other incident before he joined the Navy. Police in Seattle arrested Alexis in 2004 for shooting at a car after an altercation. No one was injured in that incident.
The FBI is conducting an investigation to learn more about Aaron Alexis and is urging anyone with information to contact law enforcement officials.