In-depth look inside the life of accused West U shooter Nathan Desai

Miya Shay Image
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Who is Nathan Desai?
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Who is Nathan Desai? Miya Shay reports.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Was shooting suspect Nathan Desai a recluse who collected Nazi memorabilia inside his third floor condo? Or was he an amateur musician who played the guitar while working as a prosecutor in Dallas?

Those who knew Desai painted a picture of a man who was outgoing, friendly, until this past year. Desai was known to friends as "Niren" and only changed his name to Nathan after law school.

"You know he was a pretty good guy," said Michael Lowe, a former prosecutor in Dallas who worked with Desai and played in a band with him. "You know we use to play at parties and clubs and you know, we would drink and talk to girls, when we were in our twenties. We did the normal stuff that people in their twenties do."

Before his days in a band, Desai helped organize a chapter of the Jewish fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Houston. Ian Rosenberg remembers him there.

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"This group of people, we kind of rented a house, did events, we got together," said Rosenberg, who added the fraternity had many non-Jewish members. "It was a broad mix of people, cultures, and all that stuff. It was attractive, it was interesting."

Before college, Desai was a popular kid at Alief Hastings High School. Richard Chastain barely recognized how his former classmate is being portrayed.

"He was not a white supremacist, he just happened to collect Nazi memorabilia stuff as well as other things that was odd," said Chastain, who also happen to live near Desai and saw him frequently in the neighborhood. "I believe he was not in a good state of mind, I really do think that he didn't realize what he was doing."

Friends wonder how a young man who had a normal high school life, helped start a Jewish fraternity in college, played in a band as a young professional, owned his own law firm for 12 years, could end up shooting so many people and dying in a shootout with police.

"There is absolutely nothing about his personality that (would have predicted this)" said Lowe. "I was completely shocked when I heard about this."

SEE MORE: Other witnesses also shared their experiences on abc13. Watch their accounts of the morning's shooting below: