Texas friends in shock over DC gunman's actions

September 17, 2013 7:31:11 AM PDT
Aaron Alexis, the alleged shooter at the D.C. Navy Yard yesterday, has ties here in Texas. He lived in Ft. Worth and was well known by many people who lived there. Alexis spent a lot of his time at a Thai restaurant there. We went to that restaurant and spoke to friends who say they knew him well and never saw any signs that Alexis was capable of being a mass murderer.

The restaurant owner's wife shared photos she and her husband took of Alexis. Friends there described him as well-liked by customers. They say he learned Thai and enjoyed speaking the language at the restaurant.

Friends tell us Alexis often visited a Buddhist temple and they never saw him angry and had no idea about his run-ins with the law until now.

Seattle police say in 2004 he shot out a man's tires in what was described as an "anger fueled shooting." Then in 2010, he was arrested in Ft. Worth for discharging a firearm.

Alexis was given a general discharge from the Navy in 2011.

We spoke to one friend in Ft. Worth who told us he tried to help him. He says he even tried to help him find military contract work.

"I encouraged him every chance I could get because I didn't want him to get discouraged," said friend Michael Ritrovato. "But obviously he got discouraged about something, you know. I just wish I knew what it was, I really do. I just wish this never happened."

According to the FBI, Alexis was not active duty, but rather a civilian contractor at the time of the shooting.

Reporter Christine Dobbyn is in Ft. Worth working this side of the story. Watch for her reports on Eyewitness News, abc13.com and on our mobile news apps.

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