A female soldier in Virginia died after shooting herself at the Fort Lee army base in an attempt to commit suicide. The sergeant had barricaded herself in an office at the Combined Arms Support Command and began throwing things at the officers who were trying to calm her down. The soldier then fired a single round into her head and initially survived the blast. She later died after she was taken to the hospital.
The incident started at around 9:00 a.m. after military authorities were notified about a female soldier containing a gun inside the CASC headquarters. The CASC’s commander, Major General Stephen R. Lyons, stated that the soldier had snapped. She had locked herself in a room on the third floor of the building before attempting to take her own life. The Army mentioned that an alert was sounded across the station, and that the people in the building either were evacuated or took shelter inside. Although there were roughly 1,100 people in the building at the time of the event, no one else was injured. Lyons told reporters that the situation could have been much worse, after the alert was taken off the base.
Lyons said that he was unsure about whether the soldier was being treated for mental health issues and could not speculate if drugs or alcohol were a factor. He did say, however, that the gun she used on herself was not Army issued. According to a source in a Fox News report, the soldier was described as “disgruntled.” Lyons described the sergeant as enraged and irate during the episode but was unsure whether or not her temper during the event was consistent with her character. The Virginia soldier died shortly after shooting herself at the army base, and an investigation is still underway to determine what drove her to the mental condition she was in.
The soldier was a 1st Class sergeant who has been in active duty in the Amy for 14 years and at Fort Lee for three, Lyons stated. Officials said that they would not release her identity to the public until 24 hours after notifying the soldier’s next of kin. Lyons said that they are sad for the loss of their soldier, and troubled that she faced such severe challenges which resulted in such negative actions.
Army officials had initially labeled the occurrence on Monday as an “active shooter” circumstance, a phrase portraying a person that is forcefully attempting to kill people in populated areas with no defined pattern of choosing victims. Since the alert was removed, the status has been changed.
This shooting was the fourth act of violence at a Virginia military base this year. In March, a non-military truck driver shot and killed a sailor that was aboard a Navy destroyer at Naval Station Norfolk before Navy security responded by shooting and killing the armed man. In April, a sailor shot himself and took his own life inside a barracks near the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. And in June, a sailor at the same base repeatedly stabbed another sailor.
A Virginia soldier died after shooting herself in the head at the Fort Lee army base, and military officers are still looking into what led the sergeant to commit such a desperate act. After the soldier’s family has been contacted about the incident, her name will be released to the public.
By Amy Nelson