Suspected Navy Yard Shooter: Soft-Spoken Buddhist, Recently Traveled to Thailand

Suspected Navy Yard Shooter: Soft-Spoken Buddhist, Recently Traveled to Thailand

A profile is starting to emerge of the man law enforcement says is responsible for the mass-murder of 12 people Monday at Washington’s Navy Yard. Aaron Alexis was a full-time Navy reservist between 2007 and 2011. A former roommate also says Alexis was a Buddhist who “liked to meditate” and, as a computer defense contractor, recently visited Japan and Thailand:

A 34-year-old man named Aaron Alexis who lived in west Fort Worth was described by friends as a person who was polite and liked to meditate. He has not been confirmed as the alleged gunman.

Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, owner of Happy Bowl Thai in White Settlement, said Alexis was “my best friend.”

“He lived with me three years,” Suthamtewakul said Monday afternoon. “I don’t think he’d do this. He has a gun but I don’t think he’s that stupid. He didn’t seem aggressive to me.”

Alexis worked at times as a waiter at Happy Bowl, customers said. They described him as friendly.

Alexis had recently visited Thailand and had been to Japan with a computer defense contractor, where he worked in information technology, said Sandy Guerrea-Cline, a customer at Happy Bowl and copy editor at the Star-Telegram.

The Washington Post reports that one worker at the Buddhist temple at which Alexis would meditate found the suspected shooter “very aggressive” on the inside and avoided him:

But he still seemed so tightly wound that at least one worker there sought to avoid him.

“He would help people if they came in carrying heavy things,” said J. Sirun, an assistant to the monks at the center. “From the outside, he was a quiet person. But on the inside, I think he was very aggressive. He did not like to be close with anybody, like a soldier who has been at war.”

Alexis was memorable because he had so many Thai friends and spoke Thai “very well,” Sirun said. “He understood about 75 percent of the language.”

“I didn’t think he could be this violent,” Sirun said. “I would not have been surprised to hear he had committed suicide. But I didn’t think he could commit murder.”

The FBI is asking the public for any information on Alexis, no matter how small, and have asked the public to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.


Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC