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Houston shooter who cops say wore Nazi emblem was in Jewish fraternity

HOUSTON — A man who police say wore Nazi a emblem as he opened fire on Houston motorists Monday, injuring nine, was in a Jewish fraternity in college, his former classmates tell CBS affiliate KHOU.

The scene of a shooting near a strip mall parking lot in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 26, 2016. KHOU-TV

Officials describe Nathan DeSai as a “disgruntled” lawyer. DeSai was wearing historic military-style apparel featuring Nazi symbols on his clothing when the shooting spree ended with police killing him​, officials said Monday. Investigators also said they found vintage military items dating to the Civil War in his apartment, officials said.  

It’s an image that surprised members of the 46-year-old’s fraternity at the University if Houston, which DeSai attended in the early 1990s.

Back then, DeSai was known as Niren, said Ian Rosenberg, who was DeSai’s fraternity brother. Court documents show DeSai changed his first name to Nathan in 2001.

“I don’t know what to think. (It’s) dumbfounding,” Rosenberg said, noting that those who were not Jewish were and still are allowed to join the fraternity.

Rosenberg said DeSai helped to restart Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Houston, years after the campus’ chapter originally closed.

“The group of guys were successful enough to get the national Sigma Alpha Mu to give us money left in the account from that fraternity to fund our efforts,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg remembers all of his frat brothers embracing their diversity, which makes the end of DeSai’s life so confusing.

“The Nazis almost alienated my entire race,” Rosenberg said. “You can read anything you want into it. The fact is, none of us will know.”

In a statement to KHOU, Sigma Alpha Mu executive director Andy Huston confirmed that DeSai was in the fraternity from 1990 to 1993.

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yesterday’s tragic events in Houston and their families. We condemn this senseless act of violence,” Hurston said.