It's known that Aaron Alexis did basic training in 2007 at the Great Lakes Naval Station north of Chicago, and now the I-Team has learned that Alexis was back in metro Chicago this past summer, this time as a civilian.
He was working as a computer specialist for a company that has a contract with the Navy. That job, and Alexis' Navy security clearance, allowed him access to Great Lakes a few weeks ago, and to the Washington Navy Yard where he killed 12 people on Monday.
"Mr. Alexis had legitimate access to the Navy Yard as a result of his work as a contractor and he used a valid pass to gain entry to the building," said Valerie Parlave, FBI-Washington.
But why did he still have security clearance? The 34-year-old former Navy reservist, who was honorably discharged in 2011, had several misconduct arrests; He shot a gun into the ceiling of his apartment and shooting the tired of a construction worker's car in an anger fueled rage.
Nevertheless, he landed a job through this technology firm called "The Experts" that holds Defense Department contracts.
Alexis was assigned as a desktop support specialist on Navy computers here in the Chicago area.
Great Lakes is the U.S. Navy's only basic training center, and the service branch is currently in the middle of a major computer system overhaul, an international project on which Alexis was deployed.
The company Alexis worked for told the I-Team on Tuesday his secret government clearance was the result of two background checks, both confirmed twice through the Defense Department. The latest check in late June turned up just one minor traffic violation.
From Chicago this summer, Alexis ended up ten days ago at the Naval Yard in Washington, staying in a nearby hotel. His rental car was towed from the crime scene on Tuesday morning.
Although no doubt a coincidence, the company he worked for is advertising for the same desktop support job Alexis held, stating applications "must currently have and be able to maintain a U.S. Government clearance at the minimum collateral level."
Alexis actually worked twice for the company, including in Japan. Sources familiar with his employment say he left the company in December saying he wanted to go back to school, only to return this summer. It's not clear why he returned, but the I-Team does know that one of his assignments was Chicago, and Great Lakes is currently undergoing that intranet overhaul.