PHOTOS: Navy Yard shooting
Alexis survived one gun battle with authorities Monday morning, but was killed during the second firefight. The ABC7 I-Team found several legal problems involving guns in his background.
Monday's base attack was confined to this Navy facility in south Washington D.C., not far from the U.S. Capitol, but federal authorities in the South and in the Northwest where he once lived are trying to come up with a motive. The FBI quickly released a wanted poster of Alexis, and what they want is information about his past and what drove him to kill.
In the Dallas area tonight, FBI agents are questioning his friends and former associates, including his ex-roommate.
"He's not aggressive for me. He had a gun but it didn't mean he was going to kill people. He had a gun, he had a concealed license. He had everything legal. And that is stupid if he shoot that gun. His own gun. I didn't think he was gonna do that," said Oui Suthamtewakul, Alexis' ex-roommate.
The I-Team obtained Alexis' mugshot from a Fort Worth incident three years ago in which Alexis fired shots into a neighbor's apartment. He told police it happened accidentally as he cleaned his gun. No charges were filed.
But in Seattle a few years earlier, Alexis was arrested for a 2004 incident that involved a Glock .45-caliber pistol. According to the police report, Alexis used the gun to shoot out someone's car tires during a dispute. His father reported Alexis had anger management issues and post-traumatic stress disorder because he was a rescuer in New York on September 11, 2001.
It is not known whether that is true, if Alexis actually did work as a rescuer on 9/11, although there were volunteers on hand at Ground Zero in New York City. On Monday night, federal agents are interviewing Alexis' parents and sister at their home in Brooklyn.
Alexis went through training at north suburban Great Lakes in 2007. The motive and whether there are accomplices are still mysteries on Monday afternoon, but eight hours after shots were fired on the Navy Yard in Washington, it is clear what happened. There was fear, bloodshed and chaos in a place where it was totally unexpected.
At one of the military's highest security facilities, an intruder with a rifle. As sirens wailed, people ran for their lives, including U.S. Navy Commander Tim Jirus, who was next to a man in an alleyway who took a round in the head.
"We had two gunshots that went off near us. One hit him, he fell down. I ran from there after that," said Cmdr. Tom Jirus, U.S. Navy.
"As far as we know this is an isolated incident," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Washington, D.C.
At first isolated to the fourth floor of building 197. When the gun smoke cleared, there were more than a dozen dead including this man, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist who went through basic training in Illinois.
Alexis, a Fort Worth, Texas native, may have been disguised as a military officer and authorities suspect he used someone else's I.D. to get onto the base.
"We potentially have two other shooters that we have not located yet at this point," said Chief Cathy Lanier, Washington D.C. Metro Police Department.
Police said they were searching for two men who may have taken part in the attack, one carrying a handgun and wearing a tan navy-style uniform and a beret, the other armed with a long gun and wearing an olive-green uniform. Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it was unclear if the men were members of the military, or if they even exist.
The attack took place near Washington Reagan airport and not far from the Capitol and the White House. The nearby stadium where the Washington Nationals play will be empty Monday night as the game has been postponed. Investigators now say three guns were found on the shooter, an AR-15 assault-style rifle, a shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol. Odds are he did not carry all those onto the base; the thinking is that he obtained some or all of the guns after he got to the facility.