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Suspect in custody in Cuban Embassy shooting, police say

A 42-year-old man from Texas who police said used an assault-style rifle to open fire on the Cuban Embassy in Northwest Washington early Thursday faces several criminal charges.

Police said the suspect, Alexander Alazo, is from Aubrey, Tex., a town north of Dallas, though 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 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 others counts. Alazo made a first appearance Thursday evening in U.S. District Court.

The early morning gunfire unnerved many residents in the 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 around the building’s perimeter.

A maroon Nissan Pathfinder, with a small decorative American flag affixed to the back, was parked outside the embassy. The vehicle became the subject of intense police scrutiny.

Officers draped yellow caution tape around it and photographed the inside of the vehicle. Police said the vehicle appears to be connected to the suspect. 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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