Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people at Washington’s Navy Yard, was able to convince Veterans Affairs doctors before the shooting rampage that he had no mental health issues despite serious problems and encounters with police during the same period, an Associated Press review of his confidential medical files has found. A timeline of events leading up to the Sept. 16, 2013, killings:
June 3, 2004 - About three years before his enlistment in the Navy Reserve, Alexis is arrested in Seattle and charged with malicious mischief for shooting the tires on a construction worker’s vehicle. He remains in jail overnight and is released on his own recognizance. No charges are filed.
May 5, 2007 - Alexis enlists in the Navy Reserve at the New York Military Entrance Processing Station in Brooklyn.
Aug. 4, 2007 - The federal Office of Personnel Management closes its standard secret-level investigation of Alexis that started when he enlisted. OPM discovers his 2004 arrest and interviews him about it, but its final report does not mention any firearm use. It says instead that Alexis had “deflated the tires on a construction worker’s vehicle.”
Sept. 23, 2008 - Alexis receives a nonjudicial punishment for unauthorized absence that includes forfeiture of one-half day of pay per month for two months and a reduction of one pay grade. Both are suspended. Alexis is absent because he is in jail Aug. 10-11 in DeKalb County, Ga., following an arrest for disorderly conduct outside a nightclub. The incident stays on his service record from that date forward.
July 12, 2009 - Alexis receives a second nonjudicial punishment for being drunk and disorderly and is reduced one pay grade. This NJP is due to Alexis leaping off stairs and breaking his ankle while reportedly intoxicated. There is no police involvement. Alexis appeals.
Dec. 3, 2009 - Alexis’ second NJP is set aside on appeal, based on a finding that there is insufficient evidence to prove he was intoxicated at the time of the incident. The report of NJP is removed from his record.
Sept. 5, 2010 - Alexis is arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, for discharging a firearm in his residence the previous day. According to law enforcement documents, Alexis said he accidentally discharged the firearm while cleaning it. No charges are filed. After his arrest, Alexis’ commanding officer initiates proceedings to administratively separate him from the Navy. But when Alexis is not charged for unlawfully discharging a firearm, the proceedings are halted.
Jan. 31, 2011 - Alexis receives an honorable discharge, with the most favorable re-entry code.
Feb. 7, 2011 - Alexis visits a Veterans Affairs clinic in Dallas complaining of hearing loss, which he says is “annoying and can be distracting.” He files a disability claim for tinnitus, which he says began in 2009 while he was serving in the Navy. An audiologist subsequently determines his hearing in both ears is “within normal limits” and says any hearing loss or tinnitus probably didn’t occur when he was serving in the military.
Oct. 20, 2011 - Alexis visits the VA clinic in Dallas for an orthopedic exam involving knee and lower leg problems as well as back and right shoulder pain. An examiner concludes that Alexis has a degenerative disc in his back and less movement than normal in his shoulder and knee. “Review of service medical records reveals documentation of evaluation and treatment of low back pain, right knee pain, right shoulder pain and right foot pain.”
Dec. 12, 2011 - VA grants Alexis a 20 percent disability rating for orthopedic issues, which is increased to 30 percent one year later when he was awarded an additional 10 percent for tinnitus. Alexis receives benefits in the amount of $395 monthly. The 30 percent was retroactive to his separation from service.
Aug. 7, 2013 - In Newport, R.I., Alexis tells police responding to his complaints at a hotel that he believes that people are talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his hotel rooms and sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep.
Aug. 23, 2013 - Alexis visits the emergency room at the Providence VA Medical Center complaining of insomnia. He denies any drug or alcohol use, depression or thoughts of suicide. An emergency department triage note states he has been unable to get more than two-to-three hours of sleep for about three weeks. A doctor prescribes trazadone and advises Alexis to follow up with a primary care doctor after he gets home for follow-up treatment.
Aug. 28, 2013 - Alexis visits the emergency room at the VA medical center in Washington. Triage note says the patient has been “awakening each morning about 4:00 am like clockwork and he cannot figure out why this is happening.” At discharge, he is described as alert and oriented. He receives another prescription for trazadone and is advised to call the VA and schedule an appointment.
Sept. 14, 2013 - Alexis purchases the Remington shotgun he uses in the Navy Yard shootings from a gun shop in Virginia. He scrawls on the gun, “My ELF Weapon!” - an apparent reference to extremely low-frequency waves - along with “End to the Torment!” ”Not what yall say” and “Better off this way!”
Sept. 16, 2013 - Alexis guns down 12 workers at the Navy Yard, where he was working as an information technology contractor. He is killed in a police shootout. Alexis leaves behind a note that FBI agents recovered saying he had been targeted by ultra-low frequency radio waves aimed at him for the previous three months, or since mid-July.
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