Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter, was arrested in Police Chief Cedric Alexander’s district, Dekalb County, Ga., in 2008 for disorderly conduct--an incident the law enforcement official described as fairly routine. “He paid the fine and went on about his way,” Alexander said the local records show.
Although Alexander wasn't in charge of Dekalb County’s police department at the time of the arrest, he said the Georgia arrest is just one example of what appears to be a pattern for Alexis.
“What you’re seeing here with Mr. Alexis is a pattern—a pattern of anger, a pattern of being alone, a pattern of violence that has occurred across the country over the last number of years,” Alexander said. “As of yesterday, it appears that all of it came to some culmination.”
Alexander participated in Morning Joe’s panel on gun violence with Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year.
In the panel and in Tuesday’s interview, Alexander stressed the need to incorporate mental health into law enforcement and policy.
“I think we gotta go back and we really have to work at really closely, and begin to have conversations again, around mental health as it relates to gun violence in this country.”
Sources told NBC News that Alexis was treated multiple times for psychological issues, including anger, paranoia, and sleep deprivation.
Alexander’s county had a close call recently, when a young man with an automatic rifle went to a school planning a violent rampage. The man was talked down by a school administration and tragedy was averted.
“But we cannot overlook it because there was no death and mayhem,” he said. “[The subdued shooter has] probably got some mental health issues going on, too.”