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Public records indicated that since 1998, Alexis lived in New York, Texas and Washington states. In September 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas, he was arrested for illegally discharging a firearm, but the case was not pursued, a county prosecutor's spokeswoman said.
Alexis had served in the military but most recently was furthering his education while holding down a job in the private sector, his father Algernon Alexis, said in a telephone interview.
"This comes as a complete shock," the elder Alexis said when he was told his son was identified as a suspect in the shooting.
His father said he was currently "in school and working at a job" at a private company in a "computer-related" position outside of his birthplace, New York.
Alexis worked at the "Thai Bowl" restaurant in 2008, said Tiki Confer, 64, the owner of the Bangkok House Thai restaurant in White Settlement, Texas. She said he spoke Thai and worshipped at a Buddhist temple.
"He was a very nice boy. When I saw his picture on the news, I was shocked," Confer said.
Aaron Alexis had been working much of this year as a computer contractor for The Experts, and appeared to have a government contractor access card that would have allowed him onto the Navy Yard and other military installations, according to the company’s CEO, Thomas Hoshko. He was working as an hourly technical employee on a massive subcontract with Hewlett Packard to refresh computer systems worldwide at Navy and Marine Corps installations.
Alexis had a security clearance that was updated in July, approved by military security service personnel.
“There had to be a thorough investigation,” Hoshko said. “There is nothing that came up in all the searches. “
A woman is reunited with her husband, who was one of hundreds of Navy Yard workers evacuated to a makeshift Red Cross shelter after a shooting, at the Nationals Park baseball stadium near the affected naval installation in Washington, September 16, 2013. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
A soon to be released government audit says the Navy, in an attempt to reduce costs, let down its guard to risks posed by outside contractors at the Navy Yard and other facilities, a federal official with access to the report tells TIME.
The Navy “did not effectively mitigate access control risks associated with contractor installation access,” at Navy Yard and other Navy installations, the report by the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office says. Parts of the audit were read to TIME by a federal official with access to the document.
The risks resulted from an attempt by Navy officials “to reduce access control costs,” the report finds.
"He did have a secret clearance. And he did have a CAC (common access card)," said Thomas Hoshko, CEO of The Experts Inc, which was helping service the Navy Marine Corps Intranet as a subcontractor for HP Enterprise Services, part of Hewlett-Packard Co.
Asked when Alexis was supposed to start work, Hoshko said in a telephone interview: "That's what I got to find out, if he was supposed to start today ... It's not clear to me."
Hoshko said he was unaware of any issues with misconduct involving Alexis or any possible grievance that could have led to the shooting.
Alexis had previously worked for The Experts in Japan from September 2012 to January 2013, he said.
"We had just recently re-hired him. Another background investigation was re-run and cleared through the defense security service in July 2013," Hoshko said.
"It really is hard to believe that someone with a record as checkered as this man could conceivably get, you know, clearance to get ... credentials to be able to get on the base," Washington Mayor Vincent Gray told CNN.
He said automatic U.S. budget cuts known as sequestration could have led to skimping on vetting that would have barred Alexis from the heavily guarded base.
"Obviously, 12 people have paid the ultimate price for whatever was done to have this man on base," Gray said.
The headquarters, Building 197, contains classified and highly sensitive information about technical details of Navy ships and weapons, and it is closely guarded.
Visitors must first get access to the Washington Navy Yard with a military or civilian photo ID. The building is three blocks from the main gate. Those entering must go through an automated turnstile by flashing their NAVSEA badge. They are not allowed to bring in cellphones or photographic and recording devices, which can be exploited by foreign intelligence.
After passing through the turnstile overseen by the security guards at a desk, an employee can enter the lobby, which rises up to the building’s four-story height.
Guests must be checked in and turn in any recording devices. On a recent visit in June, a Navy Times reporter was required to lock his cellphone in a small locker outside the turnstiles before entering. The guest was not made to go through a metal detector but was constantly escorted by a staff member.
These security rules are comparable with those at the Pentagon. However, the Pentagon appears to have more armed guards, including those carrying assault rifles and monitoring those who access the building.
Some of the offenses were minor, such as a traffic ticket and showing up late for work. But Alexis was also accused of more serious misbehavior, including insubordination, disorderly conduct and multiple extended, unauthorized absences from work. And he was given an administrative sanction after he was arrested by civilian authorities in DeKalb County, Ga., in 2008 and held for two nights in jail, the Navy official said.
The D.C. police have confirmed the identities of the last five victims killed in Monday's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard:
Authorities confirmed the identities of these eight victims on Monday evening: