Texas friends of Navy Yard shooting suspect react in disbelief

Aaron Alexis

Credit: Courtesy

A smiling Aaron Alexis is seen in this photograph supplied by friends in Tarrant County.

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by JASON WHITELY / WFAA

NWCN.com

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 6:57 AM

WHITE SETTLEMENT — All afternoon Monday, friends of Aaron Alexis watched coverage of the Navy Yard massacre in Washington, DC in disbelief.

"He just didn't seem like he was that kind of person who would be upset enough to do something like this," said Kristi Suthamtewakul, a friend of Alexis. "That's why we're confused."

Alexis, suspected of murdering a dozen people at the military complex on Monday, lived with Suthamtewakul and her husband in Tarrant County.

"I couldn't believe that he did that. He's not that kind of guy to kill people," said Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, Kristi's husband.

The couple runs Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in White Settlement. They said Alexis enjoyed football, sang karaoke, and loved Thai food. He often cooked and delivered their restaurant orders for free.

"He loved Thailand," Kristi added. "Oh yeah! He had like 400 pictures to show us when he got back."

Alexis left the Navy in 2011; the reason why is unclear. He was last stationed at the Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth.

But the Suthamtewakuls said Alexis had trouble getting paid by a contractor, got behind on bills, and then revealed something else.

"He was just upset with the government about all that," Kristi said. "He just felt slighted by his benefits, by just what he was getting each month. He wasn't getting enough to keep up to even keep up with a bill or two each month."

After leaving the Navy, friends said Alexis always carried a pistol in his waistband. But they thought he did so legally with a concealed handgun license.

Three years ago, while cleaning his pistol, Alexis fired a bullet through the ceiling in his second floor apartment, according to a Fort Worth Police Department report.

No one upstairs was hurt, and prosecutors never charged him.

News 8 also learned Alexis often meditated at a Buddhist Temple in Keller. Monks there complimented him, said he often served their food, but recalled he had a broken heart because of a Thai girlfriend.

Recent pieces of Alexis' life provide some insight, but nothing that would reveal a motive to Monday's massacre.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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