Authorities did not alert the defense contractor that employed Aaron Alexis about his bizarre behavior at a Newport, R.I., hotel about a month before his rampage in Washington on Monday that killed 12 people, a company spokesman said Wednesday.
The spokesman for The Experts, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based information technology company that does work for the military, said neither Newport police nor naval authorities notified them of Alexis’s odd behavior, which occurred on the morning of Aug. 7 at a Marriott hotel.
According to a Newport police report, Alexis, 34, told officers that he believed three people were talking to him through walls at the Marriott and previously at a hotel at Naval Station Newport and at a Residence Inn in Middletown, R.I.
He also told police that the trio was using a machine to send vibrations through the ceiling in his room at the Marriott and into his body, the report said. Newport Police Sergeant Frank C. Rosa Jr. wrote in the report that he informed a police official at the Newport base of the episode, since Alexis identified himself as a naval contractor.
Rosa wrote that the official told him the base would follow up on Alexis to determine if he was, in fact, a naval contractor.
On Wednesday, the base referred questions to the FBI, and an FBI spokeswoman in Washington declined to comment on the statement from The Experts that the company had not been notified of the hotel behavior.
The Experts has said publicly that Alexis worked for the them for about six months in the last year, and that two background checks were performed and the US Defense Department twice confirmed the ex-naval reservist’s government security clearance. Alexis worked as desktop support technician.
“The latest background check and security clearance confirmation were in late June of 2013 and revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation,” the company said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Alexis had run-ins with civilian police, including being investigated twice for weapons violations in 2004 and 2010, though the inquiries did not result in criminal convictions, according to news reports.
Also Wednesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Alexis went to VA hospitals in Providence and Washington, D.C., last month for insomnia-related issues, weeks after the episode at the Marriott.
In a statement, the department said Alexis visited the VA Medical Center in Providence on Aug. 23 and complained of insomnia. He was given a “small amount” of medication to help him sleep and told to follow up with a primary care doctor, the statement said.
Five days later, Alexis went to the VA Medical Center in Washington and asked for a refill of the medication, attributing his sleeping difficulties to his work schedule, the VA said.
“On both occasions, Mr. Alexis was alert and oriented, and was asked by VA doctors if he was struggling with anxiety or depression, or had thoughts about harming himself or others, which he denied,” the statement said, adding that Alexis was given a “small refill” and told to follow up with a doctor.
The VA did not identify the medication, though the New York Times has reported that it was Trazodone, which is commonly used to treat insomnia.
The statement also acknowledged that Alexis enrolled in VA health care in February 2011.
“According to VA records, he never sought an appointment from a mental health specialist, and had previously either canceled or failed to show up for primary care appointments and claims evaluations examinations he had scheduled at VA medical centers,” the statement said.
Alexis collected monthly benefit payments of $395 after receiving disability ratings in 2011 and 2012 for orthopedic issues and for tinnitus, the VA said.
Also Wednesday, Boston television stations reported that Alexis had visited a Thai Buddhist temple in Raynham in mid-August. Officials associated with the temple could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
In a separate development, Alexis’s mother, Cathleen Alexis, read a brief statement on Wednesday inside her New York home in which she said that she did not know why her son “did what he did,” but she was glad that he could no longer hurt anybody.
Alexis was killed in a shootout at the Washington Navy Yard facility on Monday.
“To the families of the victims, I am so, so very sorry that this has happened,” Cathleen Alexis said. “My heart is broken.”