Aaron Alexis' family 'shocked' by Navy Yard rampage

Police stand guard outside the home of Cathleen Police stand guard outside the home of Cathleen Alexis, the mother of Washington Navy Yard suspect Aaron Alexis, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. (Sept. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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A man who said he is the brother-in-law of Aaron Alexis, the suspect in the fatal shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, said family members are devastated by Monday's attack.

Anthony Little, 31, emerged from the home of Alexis' mother on Putnam Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on Tuesday morning, talking as he walked down the street.

Calling the shooting deaths of 12 people "devastating," Little also said he was "super shocked."

Little, who said he is married to Alexis' sister, Naomi Alexis-Little, 32, left the house just before 10 a.m. and told reporters he was on his way to work.

He said Aaron Alexis' mother is "under a lot of stress," but would address the media at some point.

"It's a lot for her," he said. "She just lost her son."

Aaron Alexis, a Navy veteran who law enforcement authorities say opened fire on dozens of people at the Washington Navy Yard, is a former New Yorker who according to one Queens neighbor had lived a quiet life, a man who learned to speak Thai, dabbled in Buddhism and meditated.

But Alexis also had a record of shooting guns during disputes, according to police records.

Alexis, who was shot dead by police at the Navy Yard on Monday, had terrorized another neighbor with a gun in Fort Worth, Texas, where he had been living for the past several years, police and media reports said.

In that Sept. 6, 2010, episode, Alexis was arrested after firing a gun into the ceiling of his apartment, nearly striking a neighbor with whom he had been feuding.

In 2004, Seattle police said Alexis shot out the tires of construction workers' vehicles that had been parked at a worksite near the Seattle home where he had been living with his grandmother.

Those reports, coupled with the carnage of Monday's attack, paint a picture of a complex, if disturbed man who police say acted alone in the rampage that left at least 13 people dead for reasons that have not yet become clear.

"They were a quiet family from what I remember," said Wendy Lopez, a 30-year resident of the Flushing apartment at 144-46 77th Rd. where she recalled Alexis' family living for several years ending in 2002. "I'm absolutely floored and shocked. There was nothing I would have said back then that showed a sign -- a very quiet family."

Lopez said Monday that she remembers the family -- a mom, a daughter and two teenage boys -- living in apartment 3B, directly above her, for about two years.

She said she sometimes exchanged greetings with the mother and children, but didn't get their names.

She said they were quiet and she only once complained to them about noise -- a bouncing basketball. She said when she knocked on their apartment door to complain, they were "very nice. Never a problem."

Military personnel records show that Alexis spent nearly four years in the Navy as a full-time reservist from May 2007 until he was discharged in January 2011, according to The Washington Post, which cited a summary of Alexis' personnel records released by Navy officials at the Pentagon.

Alexis reached the rank of aviation electrician's mate 3rd class in December 2009.

He was awarded the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal -- two common awards for military personnel, according to The Washington Post.

Monday's shooting came three years after Alexis was arrested in the firing of a shot through the ceiling of his Fort Worth apartment.

According to a Sept. 6, 2010, Fort Worth police report obtained by Newsday, the neighbor said she heard a "pop" and saw dust falling from her ceiling, then realized there was a hole in her floor "just a couple of feet from where she was sitting."

"She said that several days ago Aaron confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise," the report read.

The report said Alexis claimed he had been cleaning a gun when it went off accidentally, and explained he never inquired about whether he had injured anyone because he did not think the bullet had gone through the ceiling.

In Seattle in 2004, police said Alexis evaded them for almost a month after he shot out the tires of the construction workers' cars. Alexis told police that he had been the victim of an anger fueled "blackout," and that he had felt disrespected by the men.

Police said they interviewed Alexis' father in New York City, who told them Alexis had anger problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder after assisting with rescue efforts in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Still, his Fort Worth acquaintances said he was a peaceful man who liked to meditate.

Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, owner of Happy Bowl Thai in White Settlement, a Fort Worth suburb, said Alexis was "my best friend," according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"He lived with me three years," Suthamtewakul said. "I don't think he'd do this. He has a gun, but I don't think he's that stupid. He didn't seem aggressive to me."

With Martin Evans, Gary Dymski and wire reports

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