By Robbie Owens

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)The Houston attorney accused of opening fire on strangers before being killed in a gun battle with police on Monday had ties to North Texas.

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A friend of Nathan Desai told CBS11 Desai was not always a troubled soul.

“I was in total shock when I heard the news,” said Dallas Attorney Michael Lowe. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Lowe once worked with Desai at the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. But, that was before he was known as “Nathan.”

“I refer to him as Niren,” explains Lowe. “He changed his name. He told me he changed his name after September 11th because of all the hatred towards people with foreign sounding names… he wanted to Americanize his name.”

Lowe said he and Desai worked closely together—as legal colleagues and as after-hours musicians in a rock band. Desai played guitar.

“Socially, he was pretty good guy. We used to play at parties and clubs, we would drink and talk to girls…we did the normal stuff that people in their 20s do,” said Lowe.

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But, his former band mate’s behavior in recent months had grown increasingly bizarre… police even found a swastika on a notebook in his car. That, too seemed strange, said Lowe.

“If he was an anti-semite, why would he be in a rock band with a Jewish drummer? I never saws anything that would indicate that he was anti-semitic–if I felt like he was, I certainly wouldn’t have associated with him. That was a shock.”

Relatives sid Desai was distraught over the dissolution of a law partnership earlier this year. But, Houston Police so far have no firm motive for the random attack.

“We spent a lot of time together,” said Lowe, “if there was something about him that was that far off, I would have known, and there wasn’t anything like that.”

Lowe said he doesn’t want to leave the impression that that he is making excuses for the unprovoked attack. He isn’t. He says his heart hurts for the victims. But, he’d also like to know what became of the man that was his friend.

“I’m not trying to say I know what happened… I don’t. But, I hope police get some answers out of this horrible situation for everybody,” said Lowe.

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