Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington (US Army)

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Photo Credit: McChord Air Museum

*Research not complete & includes combat deaths

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is a U.S. military installation home to I Corps and 62d Airlift Wing located 9.1 miles south-southwest of Tacoma, Washington under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Joint Base Headquarters. The facility is an amalgamation of the United States Army’s Fort Lewis and the United States Air Force’s McChord Air Force Base which merged on 1 February 2010 into a Joint Base as a result of Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations of 2005. -Wikipedia

2017:

Michael Mantenuto, US Army Veteran: Found dead at Saltwater State Park, WA

2016:

Louis Moua, US Army: Died in training accident
Timothy Hovey, US Army: Homicide victim, unsolved, cold case, reward
Matthew Thompson, US Army: Improvised Explosive Device, Afghanistan

2015:

James Ahn, US Army (2015): Parachute Error
A parachute defect went undetected for years and led to a soldier’s death
Army: Parachute manufacturing error caused 2015 JBLM death

Christina Booth, US Army Spouse (2015)
Court papers: Wife of JBLM soldier stabbed kids to keep them quiet
JBLM Soldier’s wife charged with attempted murder, knife attack on her 3 babies
Mom’s Accused Attempted Murder and Mental Health for Spouses

Celia FlorCruz, US Army (2015): Sexual Assault Victim
JBLM Officer Breaks Silence About Sexual Assaults She’s Endured

Skylar Nemetz, US Army (2014): Homicide-Wife

Andrew Sass, US Army (2014): Training Accident
NC soldier killed in training exercise in California

Shawn Woods, US Army (2014): Homicide Victim

Jeremiah Hill, US Army (2013): Homicide-Soldier

Refugio Sanchez Jr, US Army (2013): Homicide-Girlfriend
Former JBLM soldier gets 18 years for beating girlfriend to death
Cops: Mom beaten to death with vacuum cleaner

Robert Bales, US Army (2012): Homicide-Afghan Civilians

Benjamin Colton Barnes, US Army Vet (2012): Homicide/Suicide-Civilian

Robert Chiaravallotti, US Army (2012): Homicide-Wife; Rape-Step Daughter

Abel Gutierrez, US Army (2012)
Mom of former JBLM soldier in murder-suicide found dead

Nathaniel Ollis, US Army (2012): Homicide Victim
Maine soldier found stabbed to death in Olympia, Wash.
Slain Maine soldier just weeks from discharge
Washington Police Give Details About Maine Soldier’s Murder Case
Army private found stabbed in Washington was stationed at troubled base, Fort Lewis

Shannon Remus, US Army (2012): Homicide-Civilian
JBLM soldier gets probation in Wis. homicide case
JBLM police officer arrested, suspected of helping husband hide body in Wisconsin slaying

Michael Ristau, US Army (2012): Improvised Explosive Device, Afghanistan
Lewis-McChord soldier killed in Afghanistan

Robert Underwood, US Army (2012)
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Officer Charged with Making Death Threats

Frank Buoniconti III, US Army (2011): Helicopter Crash
Army investigation pinpoints helicopter accident flaws

Anne Montgomery, US Army (2011): Helicopter Crash
Army investigation pinpoints helicopter accident flaws

Dae Han Park, US Army (2011): Improvised Explosive Device, Afghanistan
IED Kills Local Soldier

Duane Rader, US Army (2011): Domestic Violence
Army Wife Testifies Husband Set Her Legs On Fire
Army wife says husband intentionally lit her legs on fire
Thurston County man to serve time for setting wife on fire
Army sergeant gets 10 years for setting wife’s legs afire

Joseph Satterfield, US Army (2011): Helicopter Crash
Army investigation pinpoints helicopter accident flaws

Luis Sigfrid, US Army (2011): Helicopter Crash
Army investigation pinpoints helicopter accident flaws

David Stewart, US Army (2011)
Man in murder-suicide car identified as soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 10-year-old girl found safe in Oregon

Dakota Wolf, US Army (2011): Homicide-Civilian
Soldier based in Washington state suspected in teen’s fatal stabbing
AWOL soldier charged with teen’s murder
Soldier charged with murder in Kirkland woman’s slaying; friend says suspect, victim knew each other
Wolf pleads guilty to Kirkland woman’s death, victim’s father not satisfied
AWOL soldier gets 20 years for slaying of Kirkland woman

Adriana Alvarez, US Army (2010): Non combat related incident, Iraq

Calvin Gibbs, US Army (2010): Homicide-Afghan Civilian

Carlos Gill, US Army (2010): Non combat related illness, Afghanistan

Andrew Holmes, US Army (2010): Homicide-Afghan Civilian

Jeremy Morlock, US Army (2010): Homicide-Afghan Civilian

Christopher Opat, US Army (2010): Non combat related incident, Iraq

Sheldon Plummer, US Army (2010): Homicide-Wife
*Strangled his wife, Lacey Plummer (Iraq War Army veteran)
Lacey-area soldier gets 14.5 years in wife’s death; family speaks
Homicide details revealed
Sgt. Sheldon Plummer Pleads Guilty to Homefront Murder of Ex-Soldier Wife

Joshua Tabor, US Army (2010): Child Abuse

Michael Wagnon, US Army (2010): Homicide Charges Dropped

Adam Winfield, US Army (2010): Homicide-Afghan Civilian

Eric Autio, US Army (2009): Accidental Shooting Victim
Fort Lewis Army Wife Kills Husband During Gun Lesson
Fort Lewis soldier fatally shot teaching his wife how to use gun
Soldier accidentally shot dead by wife as he gave her gun lesson

Timothy Bennitt, US Army (2009): Homicide-Civilian
Fort Lewis soldier charged in teen’s death
Soldier charged in girl’s Army base death
Army Says Soldier Gave Teen Lethal Cocktail of Drugs on Base
Soldier guilty in death of teen girl in Fort Lewis barracks
Soldier’s sentence in drug-related death gets another look

John Russell, US Army (2009): Homicide-Soldiers in Iraq

Nathan Smith, US Army (2009): Kidnapping, Rape, and Arson

Amy Tirador, US Army (2009): Death Ruled Suicide, Iraq

Ivette Davila, US Army (2008): Homicide-Husband&Civilian
Soldier admits double murder at Fort Lewis, won’t face death
‘I understood I was killing them’: Fort Lewis soldier admits to murder
Lewis-McChord soldier sentenced to life without parole for double murder, kidnapping baby
Bakersfield soldier could face death penalty in murder case

Timothy Ayers, US Army (2007): Homicide-Soldier
Soldier Accused of Murdering Sergeant
Soldier charged in shooting death of Loganton veteran
Parents of fallen Iraq War soldier angry over court decision
`A hideous accident’

Michael Barbera, US Army (2007): Homicide Charges Dropped

Anthony Cruse, US Army (2007): Homicide-Soldier
Soldier accused of stabbing death
Fort Lewis soldier charged with murder
Licking Man Charged in Murder
Licking Teenager Charged in Army Stabbing
US, Appellee v. Private E1 ANTHONY J. CRUSE, US Army, Appellant (2010)

Hannah Gunterman, US Army (2006): Non combat death, Iraq, Homicide

Suzanne Swift, US Army (2006): Victim of Sex Crimes

Brandon Bare, US Army (2005): Homicide-Wife
Soldier charged in wife’s death
Ft. Lewis stabbing details revealed
Army jury convicts soldier in wife’s death
Soldier, 20, convicted of wife’s murder

Jamaal Lewis, US Army (2005): Homicide-Soldier&Civilian
Fort Lewis soldier sentenced to life for slaying fellow soldier and woman
Crystal McDowell & a Fort Lewis soldier were shot and killed outside a popular bar by another soldier
US, Appellee v. Jamaal A. LEWIS, Specialist, U.S. Army, Appellant (2011)
Jamaal Lewis & Daqon Sipple: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Christopher Baber, US Army (2003): Manslaughter

Jeremy Meyers, US Army (2003): Homicide-Wife

Joshua Koerner, US Army (2000): Homicide Victim
Soldier with Polk Ties Killed

Christian Davis, US Army (1987): Homicide-Wife
Soldier Convicted of Killing Wife

Alexander Cronkhite, US Army (1918): Homicide Victim
Monument marks JBLM mystery death nearly 100 years later
Major Alexander P. Cronkhite is shot and killed during training exercise at Fort Lewis on October 25, 1918

Related Links:
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
‘Kill Team’ Murdered Civilians In Afghanistan
Capital punishment rare for killers in U.S. military
Military Base Jarred by Specter of Gang Killings
Home Base of Accused Soldier Has Faced Scrutiny
Afghan Killings: Troubled History of American Base
Afghanistan shootings are latest trouble linked to Lewis-McChord
Army Base on the Brink
The Kill Team: How U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians
How to Spot a Whitewash in Army’s Death Squad Inquiry
What’s happening at Joint Base Lewis-McChord?
Lewis-McChord ‘most troubled base in military,’ report says
Army beefs up leadership at troubled Lewis-McChord base
The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy

Joint Base Lewis-McChord had 16 soldiers commit suicide last year [2011], the most of any Army post, Army statistics show. Since 2003, 68 soldiers from the base have killed themselves, among the higher totals for the Army in that period, but still below Fort Hood, Fort Campbell and Fort Bragg. –NY Times

September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (2006)

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09/30/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Christopher Blaney, 19, NCD, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/29/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Edward Reynolds Jr, 27, and Henry Paul, 24, NCD, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/29/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: James Chamroeun, 20, Iraq, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

09/28/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jose Lanzarin, 28, Iraq, Baumholder, Germany

09/28/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: James Lyons, 28, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/28/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Casey Mellen, 21, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/27/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jared Raymond, 20, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/27/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Christopher Riviere, 21, Iraq, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

09/26/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Velton Locklear III, 29, and Kenneth Kincaid IV, 25, Iraq, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

09/26/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Carlos Dominguez, 57, Iraq, Army Special Operations Command, New York

09/26/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Windell Simmons, 20, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Howard March Jr, 20, and Rene Martinez, 20, Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Eric Kavanagh, 20, Iraq, Schweinfurt, Germany

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Charles Jones, 29, NCD, Iraq, Kentucky Army National Guard

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Bobby Callahan, 22, NCD, Iraq, Fort Drum, New York

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Ashley (Henderson) Huff, 23, Iraq, Fort Stewart, Georgia

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Allan Bevington, 22, Iraq, Baumholder, Germany

09/25/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Cesar Granados, 21, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/22/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Robb Needham, 51, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/22/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Yull Estrada Rodriguez, 21, Iraq, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

09/22/2006:  First Identification of U.S. Soldier Missing in Action from World War I

09/22/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Aaron Smith, 31, Iraq, Baumholder, Germany

09/22/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Jennifer Hartman, 21, and Marcus Cain, 20, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/21/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Christopher Zimmerman, 28, Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/21/2006:  Navy Aviator Missing In Action From Vietnam War is Identified

09/19/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Russell Makowski, 23, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/19/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: James Worster, 24, NCD, Iraq, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/19/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jeffrey Shaffer, 21, Iraq, Bamberg, Germany

09/19/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Adam Knox, 21, Iraq, Ohio Army Reserve

09/18/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Davis, 32, Iraq, Fort Wainwright, Alaska

09/18/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Clint Williams, 24, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/18/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Bernard Deghand, 42, Afghanistan, Kansas Army National Guard

09/18/2006:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualty: David Roddy, 32, Iraq, Norfolk, Virginia (Multi-National Corps – Iraq)

09/16/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Emily Perez, 23, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/16/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Ryan Miller, 19, Iraq, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

09/15/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Ramsey, 27, NCD, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/15/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Harley Andrews, 22, Iraq, Bamberg, Germany

09/15/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Weir, 23, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/14/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Mattingly, 30, Iraq, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/14/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jeremy DePottey, 26, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

09/13/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Michael Fuga, 47, Afghanistan, Missouri Army National Guard

09/12/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Alexander Jordan, 31, Iraq, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

09/11/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Anthony Seig, 19, Iraq, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/11/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: John Carroll, 26, Iraq, Baumholder, Germany

09/11/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Merideth Howard, 52, and Robert Paul, 43, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/11/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Nathaniel Lindsey, 38, Afghanistan, Oregon Army National Guard

09/11/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Johnathan Benson, 21, Iraq, Camp Pendleton, California

09/11/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Luis Montes, 22, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/09/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Gordon, 23, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

09/08/2006:  Airman Missing in Action From the Vietnam War is Identified

09/08/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Jason Merrill, 22, and Edwin Andino II, 23, Iraq, Wurzburg, Germany

09/08/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Vincent Frassetto, 21, Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/07/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jeremy Shank, 18, Iraq, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

09/07/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Marshall Gutierrez, 41, NCD, Camp Virginia, Area Support Group, Arijan, Kuwait

09/07/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Germaine Debro, 33, Iraq, Nebraska Army National Guard

09/06/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Richard Henkes II, 32, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/06/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Angel Mercado-Velazquez, 24, Iraq, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/06/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Ralph Porras, 36, and Justin Dreese, 21, Iraq, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/06/2006:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualty: Christopher Walsh, 30, Iraq, Missouri Navy Reserve (Multi National Corps – Iraq)

09/06/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Hannah Gunterman, 20, NCD, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Shannon Squires, 25, Iraq, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Vosbein, 30, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Ryan Miller, 21, Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Jared Shoemaker, 29, Iraq, Marine Forces Reserve, Oklahoma

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Eric Valdepenas, 21, Iraq, Marine Forces Reserve, Massachusetts

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Shane Harris, 23, Iraq, Twentynine Palms, California

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Cliff Golla, 21, and Philip Johnson, 19, Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Eugene Alex, 32, Iraq, Fort Wainwright, Alaska

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Michael Deason, 28, Iraq, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/05/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Nicholas Madaras, 19, Iraq, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/01/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Joshua Hanson, 27, Iraq, Minnesota Army National Guard

09/01/2006:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Colin Wolfe, 19, Iraq, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/01/2006:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Moises Jazmin, 25, Qixing Lee, 20, Shaun Novak, 21, and Tristan Smith, 23, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

Army Pfc. Hannah McKinney Died of Injuries Sustained After She was Hit & Run Over by a Humvee in Iraq; Sgt. Damon Shell Left Her to Die on the Side of the Road (September 4, 2006)

Hannah McKinney

Pfc. Hannah Gunterman McKinney, US Army

Pfc. Hannah Gunterman McKinney, US Army, died from non-hostile incident in Taji, Iraq on September 4, 2006. Pfc. Gunterman was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion, Fort Lewis, Washington. According to the Department of Defense, the incident was under investigation at the time of the press release.

According to initial media reports, Hannah left a guard tower at a logistics base in Taji, north of Baghdad, to go to the latrine and was hit and run over by a Humvee as she was crossing the road. The DoD reported that she died from injuries sustained after she was struck by a vehicle. The driver had apparently left the scene of the accident and it would be two hours before a tank crew discovered Hannah laying severely injured on a darkened perimeter road. Hannah was rushed to a hospital where she would later die. Hannah was married to a fellow soldier at Fort Lewis and was the mother of a toddler son. Her husband, Chris McKinney, told the Los Angeles Times that the Humvee driver was intoxicated and was in custody, facing disciplinary action. Chris said that every time he talked to Hannah he could tell she was as depressed as one could get. She just wanted to come home and be with her son and her family. Later we would learn that McKinney’s last hours involved alcohol, sex and a decorated Army reservist who was responsible for looking out for junior enlisted soldiers like Hannah. Although alcohol was banned in the combat zone, one of the sergeants had managed to buy vodka. Later drunk, the sergeants piled into a Humvee to bid goodbye to friends including Hannah. The soldiers were celebrating the end of their tour. They went to Hannah’s guard tower, she left her post, and they all went back to the barracks to drink.

Hannah’s parent’s Matthew and Barbara Heavrin want the American public to know the truth. According to statements in the Army Criminal Investigation Division report, Hannah got really drunk and had a sexual encounter with one of the soldiers. Her autopsy report showed a .20 blood-alcohol level. Sgt. Damon Shell testified that he attempted to take Hannah back to the Guard tower but realized she was in no shape to go back to work. On his way back to the barracks, Shell reports that he hit a bump, Hannah’s Humvee door popped open, and she fell out. Shell eventually noticed that Hannah was no longer in the Humvee and instead of stopping to help or look for his fellow soldier, he left the scene and went back to bed in the barracks. Hannah’s death resulted from injuries suffered after she fell out of a Humvee and was struck by that same vehicle. Sgt. Damon Shell was charged with involuntary manslaughter but a military jury at Fort Hood found him not guilty of that charge. Prosecutors argued that driving drunk in a war zone with an underage, incapacitated junior soldier to whom he had supplied alcohol and whose vehicle door he was the last to operate made him culpable for her death. The defense argued that Shell was not responsible for what happened to Hannah after she fell out of a Humvee known to have problems with doors popping open. They argued it was a horrible accident. Damon Shell pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of drinking, drunken driving, and consensual sodomy. He was jailed for 13 months and demoted to a private yet not discharged from the Army.

Hannah’s death benefit ($500,000) went to her husband Chris. The family learned that under military rules, nothing was required to be put aside for Todd, who was not Chris McKinney’s child. Hannah’s parents eventually testified to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs about the death benefits that went to Chris McKinney. They believe that it is an anomaly that needs to be remedied to benefit the surviving sons and daughters of deceased soldiers, sailors and airmen to assist the grandparents who raise them. Matthew Heavrin shared that the assumption was made that Chris is caring for Hannah’s son Todd, which he is not and the burden of raising Hannah’s son has been left solely to them. According to Hannah’s father, Chris McKinney never offered any of the $500,000 death benefit to the family or to Hannah’s toddler son Todd.

Her case would become one in a litany of noncombat deaths in Iraq, which number more than 700, from crashes, suicides, illnesses and accidents that sometimes reveal messy truths about life in the war zone. ~The Seattle Times

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Pfc. Hannah L. Gunterman
Local Soldier, Hannah Lee McKinney, Killed in Iraq
Redlands woman, 20, dies in Iraq
Hannah L. Gunterman McKinney, 20
Army Pfc. Hannah L. McKinney, 20, Redlands; Killed in Humvee Accident
This Week at War
When Mommy Is a War Hero
A drunken night in Iraq, a soldier left behind
An Unexpected Verdict
Hannah McKinney Raped & Murdered in Iraq 2006
A drunken night in Iraq yields painful legacy
Iraq non-combat death harsh blow to soldier’s family
Women at War
Is There an Army Cover Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?
Netroots Nation: The Women’s War
The Nation: The Plight of Women Soldiers
Seeking answers to why they died
House Committee on Veterans Affairs Testimony: Matthew B. Heavrin