SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A former soldier says Wednesday’s attack on a Navy Yard that killed 12 people could be a wake-up call for many others dealing with PTSD.

There is a lot we don’t know about 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, and what led him to open fire in Washington, D.C.

But as friends, family and a nation begin to mourn, early reports indicate Alexis may have shown emotional problems well before Monday’s rampage.

According to published reports, his father told authorities he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He said his son had a difficult time coping after being at the scene of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gene Silvestri lives in Sacramento. He’s spent years suffering, now dealing with PTSD, after trauma he experienced in the U.S. Army.

“Short fuse, you see red. All of a sudden you’re in something and you don’t even realize.”

His violent outbursts and overreactions are something many who suffer with the mental disorder don’t want to admit.

“It’s that mentality of suck it up, suck it up, get over it, and in the civilian sector—for lack of a better word—ignorance.”

Psychologist Debra Moore said Alexis likely gave indications things weren’t right.

“He had a lot of things building up and it overflowed. Very rarely does someone suddenly become violent.”

For Gene, whether it’s PTSD, or any other affliction, he hopes more people learn to get the assistance they need.

“It takes a lot to actually admit, ‘I think I’m coming unraveled.’ To ask for help.”

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