Exclusive: suspected Washington gunman Aaron Alexis was “friendless” and “often complained of racial discrimination”, his former boss tells Channel 4 News.
Photo: Aaron Alexis on holiday in Thailand last year
Aaron Alexis, the 34 year-old accused of killing 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, was employed at the Happy Bowl Thai restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, as a delivery driver for three years.
The owner of the restaurant, Nutpisit Suthamtewakul, also provided the suspected gunman with a room in his house.
Mr Suthamtewakul and members of his family spoke to the Channel 4 News Asia team on Tuesday. “He didn’t pay for anything, except for electricity,” the restaurant owner told Channel 4 News.
This arrangement came to an end just two months ago when Mr Suthamtewakul got married. “My wife wanted some privacy,” he said.
He didn’t have any (American) friends. His only friends were Thais because they were nice to him. Nutpisit Suthamtewakul
The African-American often complained of racial discrimination and bias, said Mr Suthamtewakul. “He didn’t have any (American) friends. His only friends were Thais because they were nice to him,” he added.
The restaurant owner added that he was “good at shooting and really interested in guns”, although “he only owned one gun.”
According to Mr Suthamtewakul, “he couldn’t have afforded to buy the rifles that were used in (the) Washington (shootings).”
Photo: Aaron Alexis celebrating the Thai festival of Songkran where participants soak each other with buckets and water-guns
Clearly, Alexis was drawn to Thai people and Thai culture and he took a trip to the south east Asian nation in 2012.
Channel 4 News understands that he spent 45 days there, entering the country on 28 March, 2012. Alexis was shown around by family member Parin Suthamtewakul.
She took him to a number of tourist spots including rural Korat, north east Thailand, and a beach resort in Hua Hin. They also celebrated the annual Thai new year festival of Songkran, where participants soak each other with buckets, sponges and water-guns (see above picture, left).
Alexis is reported to have frequented a Buddhist temple in Fort Worth, Texas, but we are told that he showed little interest in temples or Buddhism while on holiday in Thailand.
Instead, “he went to massage parlours”, said Mr Suthamtewakul.
Alexis also met a Thai women on his holiday and developed “a crush on her” Mr Suthamtewakul added.
The ex-Navy reservist asked this woman if she wanted to come back the United States and live with him but she declined. Channel 4 News understands that Alexis had said this was because the woman “didn’t like black people.”