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Friend Of D.C. Navy Shooter: “Is It Something I Could Have Done?”

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Melinda Downs has replayed what happened in Washington D.C. over and over in her head dozens of times.

She says she still can’t understand.

“Is it something I could have done?” she asked, as she wiped away tears. “Is it something I could have solved?”

Downs lived with Aaron Alexis. She knew him for more than a year and considered him family. The North Texas woman remembered how Alexis would always stay with her when he was in town. “I know there are families that’s out there that’s [sic] truly devastated and they have to put their loved ones to rest,” Downs said softly crying. “I hurt inside for them because the guy that did that to your loved ones isn’t the guy that I know.”

Downs said she never knew her 34-year-old friend to get angry or bitter, but she says she did see symptoms of his post traumatic stress disorder. “He had insomnia where he would have trouble sleeping and he would sometimes get depressed,” recalled Downs. “He would kind of close into himself, want to be by himself, sit with himself.”

There were no glaring warning signs. Speaking of Alexis Downs said, “His mind was sound. He could hold a conversation with the best of us. He was not hearing voices and if he did he hid it very well.”

According to Downs, Alexis was receiving treatment from the VA, but the rampage in Washington D.C. has given her another chilling thought, “To know that a guy that you consoled and mentored, call friend, invited to your home, would do something so devastating… you ask yourself was there anytime at our house we were in danger?”

While most everyone who knows Alexis said they never saw any signs of violence another family he lived with for a while noticed something else. “The day after 4th of July our car stopped working. It was a brand new car,” explained Kristi Suthamtewakul. “Sugar was in the gas tank.”

The family filed a criminal mischief report with Fort Worth police against Alexis accusing him of putting the sugar in their tank. They said they have no idea why he would do it, but forgave him. “We don’t turn our back on our family. We know that things happen. People make bad decisions,” Suthamtewakul said, but added, “He was my brother.”

Meantime, friends say Alexis had a falling out with his father but adored and loved his mother and sister. He was very involved with the Thai community in White Settlement near Fort Worth. In fact, they say he was in Thailand in April for a whole month and wanted to marry a Thai woman.

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