WASHINGTON – A 42-year-old man from Texas who police said used an assault-style rifle to open fire on the Cuban Embassy here early Thursday is being detained on several criminal charges.
Police said the suspect, Alexander Alazo, is from Aubrey, about 50 miles north of Dallas. Public records show he has connections to Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida.
No one was injured in the shooting, which occurred about 2:10 a.m. at the secured building on 16th Street in Adams Morgan. But the embassy said on its Twitter account that the building suffered “material damage,” and it posted photos showing damaged walls, columns and a broken lamp.
Authorities did not comment on a possible motive.
The embassy tweet said that the Cuban government was awaiting word from authorities here about the “identity and motivations” of the suspect and that it expects local authorities to protect the diplomatic mission “against any intrusion or damage.”
The Secret Service said Alazo is charged with assault with intent to kill and possession of an unregistered firearm, among other counts. An initial court hearing in his case was postponed early Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court. It was not immediately known when it would be rescheduled.
The early morning gunfire unnerved many residents in the northwest neighborhood, which is unaccustomed to violence. Several used the Nextdoor app to report hearing a barrage of gunfire and screams.
Police would not say how many shots were fired. A report filed Thursday describes the firearm as a Century Arms semiautomatic AK-47-style weapon. The report says multiple shots were fired.
After the incident, about a dozen cruisers from D.C. police and the Secret Service surrounded the embassy and blocked off 16th Street from Fuller to Euclid streets, and a police dog sniffed its way around the building’s perimeter.
A maroon Nissan Pathfinder with a small decorative American flag affixed to the back that was parked outside the embassy was the subject of intense police scrutiny.
Officers draped yellow caution tape around it and photographed the interior. Police said it appears to be connected to Alazo. A black jacket and what appeared to be a blanket, along with a white face mask, were on the ground outside the Nissan.
Efforts on Thursday to reach Alazo’s relatives were not successful. Online databases list affiliated addresses for him in Texas, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania. People reached at those addresses denied any connection to him.
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The Washington Post’s Luz Lazo, Magda Jean-Louis and Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.