The profile still developing on the Navy Yard shooter by the media paints a picture of a young man that appears to be in contrast to someone who would take the lives of 13 innocent people in a country he once served, but there are obvious red flags. And in a BBC News profile on Sept. 16, the flags are waving bright red with the blood of dead Americans.
First, the "decorated military veteran and Buddhist convert" might have appeared to give his all during his years of military service as a reservist, but one source told the BBC that there had been misconduct service issues throughout his experience in the military.
Second, three years before he even joined as a full-time Navy reservist, Aaron Alexis was already exhibiting violent tendencies, going so far as to shoot the tires on a construction worker's vehicle, whom he believed was mocking him.
The Navy Yard shooter would go on to claim he blacked out during the exchange of gunfire, but that arrest did not appear to dissuade the armed services from giving him an official reason to carry a gun anyway, as it should have, since blacking out and shooting something as a result could indicate some type of disability that would interfere with his job performance as a reservist.
Court records reflect that Alexis was released from responsibility for the shooting, with the simple instruction that he stay away from the builders on that job site in the future. And that likely made the military believe it was a one-time situation that shouldn't hinder this young mans opportunity to serve his country. Big mistake.
The third red flag that Aaron Alexis was a problem waiting to happen for those around him in the Navy and otherwise came while he was in the reservists' service, in 2010. An upstairs apartment neighbor of the shooter claimed that he almost shot her through her apartment floor. He claimed his gun malfunctioned, accidentally discharging while it was being cleaned.
Average persons know you don't clean a loaded gun, and a Navy reservists who had been employed full-time with them for quite some time prior to that would have certainly known that and taken the necessary precautions before cleaning their weapon.
Police officers know that as well, but the woman in the case obviously didn't file any charges against the young man who lived beneath her. And now there are 13 dead people because the criminal justice system didn't address Alexis' violent blackout shooting at a construction site; because an upstairs neighbor didn't make a charge against the man who shot through her apartment floor, and because the Navy allowed him into the reservist program in the first place.
The Atlanta Top News Examiner has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics as well as successful experience in profiling unsolved homicide cases and other crime. You can reach her with questions or comments at TheRealRadellSmith@hotmail.com