VA offers first account of interactions with gunman
Aaron Alexis told medical workers at Veterans Affairs medical facilities where he was seeking treatment for insomnia, that he was not depressed and that he was not considering harming himself or others, according to a Veterans Affairs memorandum delivered Wednesday afternoon to congressional committees.
The memo says that Alexis sought treatment at VA medical facility in Providence, R.I., on Aug. 23 and in Washington on Aug. 28.
“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,” said the memo, a copy of which has been obtained by The Washington Post.
The VA memorandum delivered to congressional committees Wednesday, the department’s first account of its interactions with Alexis, was sent in response to requests for information by the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees.
Alexis never sought an appointment with VA mental health specialists, according to the memo, which cited departmental records. He either cancelled or did not show up for primary care appointments, the memo added.
During his visit Aug. 23 to the VA Medical Center in Providence, Alexis was given a small amount of sleep medication and instructed to follow up with a primary care provider, the memo states.
Alexis showed up at the emergency room at the VA Medical Center in Washington five days later to request a refill, complaining of insomnia, which he attributed to his work schedule, according to the memo.
Alexis was enrolled in the VA health-care system in February 2011. He filed a disability compensation claim with the VA and in December 2011 was granted a 20 percent disability rating for “orthopedic issues,” according to the VA. A year later, the rating was increased to 30 percent, and an additional 10 percent awarded for tinnitus, a condition that involves ringing in the ear.
Alexis was receiving $395 a month based on the disability rating, according to the VA.