WASHINGTON -- The gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday had been hoping to get back into the Navy but was "experiencing problems" with officials at the base and at his contracting firm, a federal official said.
Aaron Alexis "didn't take that very well," said the official.
In addition, Alexis "went to the VA to talk to them about mental-health issues. He was trying to get help, we think," the official said, referring to the government's veteran services department.
Whatever mental-health problems Alexis faced, neither those nor his arrests in 2010 and 2004 for gun-related incidents prevented him from recently buying at least one weapon, a shotgun.
Three weapons were found near Alexis' body Monday — the shotgun, an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a pistol.
Investigators have confirmed that Alexis bought the shotgun at a gun store in Lorton, Va. On Monday, some officials had said they thought he might have seized one or more of the weapons from a security guard he shot at the base.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that Alexis may have nursed a grievance with his employer regarding pay.
Thomas Hoshko, chief executive of the firm the Experts, said he wasn't aware of reports of a pay dispute or that Alexis may have sought treatment for mental illness. Alexis had held a security clearance since 2007, when he joined the Navy, Hoshko said.
Alexis had worked for the company on a contract in Asia last year and had recently been rehired and assigned to work at the Navy Yard. He had "no personal or professional issues," Hoshko said in an email.
Hoshko added that Alexis passed a background check in July conducted by Lexis Nexis, a data-collection firm, and a drug test. He received an identification card from the Defense Department.
"No one who conducted his background investigations made us aware of any potential issues with mental health," Hoshko said
Both the Defense Department and the Diplomatic Security Service had "reviewed a drug test and two background checks on Alexis," including one in July, before his assignment to the Navy Marine contract, he added.
Alexis returned to the firm in July after telling a colleague, he needed "to get back to work" because "school did not pay," Hoshko said.
Hoshko added that Alexis "successfully completed over six short-term assignments" at various military installations "prior to being assigned to the Washington Navy Yard last week."
"We were not aware of any problems regarding his personal or professional work prior to this most unfortunate incident," he said.
The company is a subcontractor for Hewlett-Packard on a contract to provide Internet service to the Navy and Marines.
[For the Record, 8:13 a.m. PDT Sept. 17: An earlier version of this post stated that all three of the weapons found near the body of Aaron Alexis were obtained legally. Thus far, it has only been determined that a shotgun found near the body of the Washington Navy Yard gunman had been obtained legally.]