As a Tuesday memorial seeks to honor those who lost their lives in the Washington Navy shooting on Monday by Aaron Alexis, others are talking about how the shooter was "hearing voices" and had a mental illness. Still others want to know why the Navy Yard shooting happened in the first place.
But D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray publicly stated that, "We don't have any known motive at this juncture." There is no "Dear John" letter detailing why Alexis did what he did, and there is no friend or acquaintance telling police of any recent incident to warrant the shooting of 12 people on Monday.
The Washington Times says that Valerie Parlave, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office has already said that "investigators are trying to piece together recent movements" of the dead Navy Yard gunman, along with any contacts he had, so they can try and figure out why he killed 12 people.
FBI criminal profilers tasked with finding a motive for a shooting in which no motive is apparent, will be looking back to the motives in prior Aaron Alexis criminal acts of violence in addition to talking to his contacts. But they don't have to look far to see that his first known violent act against coworkers came about because he felt he was being mocked, whether he really was or not.
And only the Navy really knows why the former Reservist acted with insubordination and had misconduct issues while in their employ. But CBS DC says Alexis had previously described being a victim of discrimination in those work related incidents.
Motive for his insubordination and conduct in those instances could have been a desire to retaliate for any real or perceived discrimination, of course. And that would go back to the first violent incident recorded with law enforcement for Alexis as well, where he believed he was being mocked by co-workers so he shot out tires on a vehicle as a result.
The suspect told law enforcement in 2010, however, that his reason for shooting his gun through the floor of his upstairs neighbor was due to an accidental discharge of his weapon. So if his motive was to pay back that woman for any real or perceived slight, he certainly didn't own up to it to police when questioned.
The 3 red flags that preceded Aaron Alexis' actions at the Navy Yard shooting on Monday included two gun discharges (one for retaliation of being mocked--whether he really was or perceived he was), and the other, was by his own admission, merely an accident.
Therefore, FBI profilers already know that Aaron Alexis discharged his weapon once in the past when he was seeking revenge for a perceived slight and another time allegedly by accident.
You don't shoot 12 people accidentally because you are cleaning your weapon in a Washington Navy Yard. And if you were slighted at work, it is highly unlikely that 12 people in the building are all in on it at the same time, or that they will be in the convenient path of your bullets the day you decide to get even.
And that just leaves the obvious, which even Sherlock Holmes, if he could, would say the motive in this case is simple: That the Navy Yard gunman was mentally ill and thus didn't really have a motive.
The National Criminal Profiles Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics. She has successful experience working on unsolved homicides and other crimes in which a suspect has not been identified. Follow her on Twitter at CrimeProfiler1.