Fort Hood Army MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn Led Police on High Speed Car Chase After Welfare Check Initiated; Died by Suicide During the Incident (October 12, 2017)

Master Sergeant Alva Joe Gwinn

MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Master Sergeant Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn, 39, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on October 12, 2017 near the Williamson-Bell County line in Texas. Although the exact set of circumstances that led to MSG Gwinn taking his own life are unknown, the media reported that MSG Gwinn took his own life during an exchange of gunfire after leading the Killeen Police Department (KPD) on a high speed car chase. Prior to the incident, a concerned family member contacted the Fort Hood chain of command to report that Joe was experiencing a mental health breakdown and may be suicidal. The command contacted the military police who then asked the Killeen Police Department to do a ‘welfare check’ on MSG Gwinn. According to the KPD, MSG Gwinn was located in his car but took off when approached; they said MSG Gwinn then led police on a high speed car chase. According to reports, Alva fled on foot after pulling over, there was an exchange of gunfire with the KPD, and MSG Gwinn ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. An officer involved shooting investigation was launched because gunfire was exchanged. Joe left behind two sons from a previous marriage and a wife and family who loved him very much. He is missed dearly.

On March 21, 2018, the media reported that a “Bell County Grand Jury reviewed the completed investigation done by the Texas Rangers and decided no indictment should be returned to the deputy in connection with the events leading to the death of a Fort Hood soldier.” MSG Gwinn’s home of record was listed as Richwood, West Virginia. MSG Gwinn served in the Army National Guard from 1996-1999 and then enlisted in the active-duty Army in September 1999 as a combat engineer. At the time of his death, MSG Gwinn was assigned to the 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood since April 2012. MSG Gwinn served in the military for over twenty years and was eligible for retirement. When the media reported on the death of MSG Gwinn, they also mentioned a sexual assault accusation lodged against him in June 2016. They reported MSG Gwinn was scheduled to go to court in November 2017 as if they were implying there was a connection between the suicide and the court date scheduled the following month. One media source reported MSG Gwinn was a highly decorated combat veteran who was known for being a perfectionist and respected by his peers. MSG Gwinn deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan a total of five times while he served with the U.S. Army.

Editor’s Note: The circumstances that led to MSG Gwinn’s suicide inspired us to include him in a Fort Hood status of forces presentation we prepared for congressional representatives in Washington D.C. We believe things could have been handled better and we hope authorities learn from this experience in an effort to prevent it from happening again. We also found it in poor taste that the media mired MSG Gwinn’s reputation at the time of his death with an accusation of which he had not been found guilty of.

Areas of Concern:

  • On October 12, 2017, family informed the chain of command that MSG Gwinn was experiencing a mental health breakdown & may be suicidal; at the request of the chain of command, the military police asked the Killeen Police Department to do a ‘welfare check’ on MSG Gwinn; according to the KPD, they located MSG Gwinn in his car but he took off when approached and then led them on a high speed car chase that ended with an exchange of gunfire and MSG Gwinn taking his own life
  • How can we prevent a ‘welfare check’ from turning into an officer involved shooting, suicide by cop or suicide? Why was the high speed car chase necessary?
  • According to media reports, in June 2016, MSG Gwinn was arrested, indicted and charged by civilian authorities with “aggravated sexual assault” of a 12-year-old girl in 2012; the accusations surfaced in the midst of a child support and child custody case; MSG Gwinn maintained his innocence but a potential trial loomed and his military career and child visitation rights were on hold; Joe loved his family
  • The accusations negatively impacted MSG Gwinn’s military career and ability to spend time with his two sons; this in turn negatively impacted his mental health; the stress of the child custody case & accusations took their toll; up until this point, MSG Gwinn had a stellar military career and had never been accused of any crimes
  • According to local media, Alva was facing a trial in November 2017 and they made a loose connection between a pending trial date and MSG Gwinn’s suicide
  • What prompted the media to mire MSG Gwinn’s memory with an accusation when they reported on his death? Is that fair when the accused can’t defend themselves?
  • Whether guilty or innocent, this is a tragic end for a man accused of a crime
  • What does the Army do with the accused who are awaiting criminal trial?
  • Is Fort Hood responsible for the mental health of those accused of crimes?
  • What is the military’s policy on child visitation when a military member is accused of a crime against a child other than their own?

Related Links:
Obituary: Alva “Joe” Gwinn
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier (Ft Hood Press Center)
Fort Hood Fallen Warriors
Killeen man arrested for sexual assault of 12-year-old
Man arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child
Fort Hood soldier arrested on aggravated sexual assault charge
Fort Hood soldier indicted in sexual assault case
Man who died in Thursday chase identified
Man in Bell County Chase was Fort Hood Soldier
Soldier who died in pursuit a decorated combat engineer
Soldier who led officers on Williamson Co. chase was facing sexual assault trial
Deputy in deadly Bell Co. chase was 12-year veteran, Williamson Co. sheriff’s office says
In the military, trusted officers became alleged assailants in sex crimes
Man who died after 2-county chase was facing child rape trial
Affidavit: Man in officer-involved shooting was charged with aggravated sexual assault of child
Ft. Hood Soldier leads police on high speed chase before killing himself
Authorities: Man shot after police chase in Bell County killed himself
Army master sergeant commits suicide during police shoot out after giving chase
Army MSG was facing charges of sexually assaulting 12 year old girl
Man who died during pursuit had court date for sexual assault of a child
Man who took own life after WilCo pursuit was soldier facing child sex assault charge
One dead after officer-involved shooting in Bell County
Affidavit: Suspect in officer-involved shooting was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child
Man who died during pursuit had court date for sexual assault of a child
Ft. Hood Soldier leads police on high speed chase before killing himself
No charges filed against Williamson County deputy in officer-involved shooting
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)

Killeen PD: Army SSG Anthony Lovell Died of Injuries Sustained in Apparent Motorcycle Accident Along Nolan Creek in Killeen, Texas (July 3, 2017)

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SSG Anthony Lovell, US Army

Army Staff Sergeant Anthony Lovell, 40, died of injuries sustained in an apparent motorcycle accident along Nolan Creek in Killeen, Texas on July 3, 2017. According to witnesses, SSG Lovell’s body was found in a mysteriously different location then the motorcycle. But the Killeen Police Department determined SSG Lovell was traveling south on 8th Street and failed to make a turn into a mobile home park in the area. Investigators claim SSG Lovell left the road, hit an embankment, and went airborne. Therefore, this accounted for the separation of the body and the motorcycle. And as a result, the accident caused multiple blunt force injuries.

“The motorcycle accident was around 8 p.m. on July 3. Lovell was going southbound in the 300 block of Eighth Street. Police say he failed to negotiate a turn and left the roadway then went airborne and into Nolan Creek. The soldier suffered a fatal head injury and was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m.” -Killeen PD

SSG Lovell was a resident of Killeen, Texas; he was stationed at Fort Hood in March 2015 as a cavalry scout assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. SSG Lovell joined the Army in September 1997 and deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from April 2007 to June 2008 and from September 2009 to August 2010. At the time of the Fort Hood press release, the circumstances surrounding the incident were under investigation by the Killeen Police Department.

Related Links:
Obituary: Anthony Ray Lovell
SSG Anthony Ray Lovell | Chisolm’s Family Funeral Home
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier – Staff Sgt. Anthony Ray Lovell
Staff Sgt. Anthony Ray Lovell, 1st Cavalry Division | Fort Hood Sentinel
In Memory Of US Army SSG Anthony Ray Lovell | Freedom Isn’t Free
Fort Hood identifies soldier who died after apparent motorcycle crash
Army identifies Fort Hood soldier killed in motorcycle accident | Army Times
Army identifies Fort Hood soldier killed in motorcycle accident | GD News
Body at Nolan Creek identified
Fort Hood soldier dies after motorcycle accident
Man found dead by creek ID’d as Fort Hood soldier
Man found dead near creek identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood Soldier’s Body Found Near Creek
Fort Hood soldier dies after motorcycle accident
Fort Hood soldier dies after motorcycle accident | WDAM-TV
Fort Hood soldier laid to rest, survived by wife and three children
Fort Hood soldier laid to rest, survived by wife and three children | KXXV-TV
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (2017)

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Pvt. Justin Lewis, US Army

Fort Hood Army soldier Pvt. Justin Lewis, 19, was shot and killed near a vacant lot in a neighborhood outside the post in Killeen, Texas on April 17, 2017. Justin was pronounced dead on April 18, 2017 by the coroner. Pvt. Lewis’ home of record is listed as Henderson, North Carolina and he entered active-duty service in August 2016. Pvt. Lewis was a cavalry scout assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment in Fort Hood, Texas. The circumstances surrounding the unsolved homicide are under investigation by the Killeen Police Department in Killeen, Texas. The point of contact for the investigation is Ofelia Miramontez, Public Information Officer, Killeen Police Department. Miramontez’s phone number is (254) 501-8941/8807 and her email is omiramontez@killeentexas.gov. Eight months later, the Killeen Police Department does not have any updates in the case according to Killeen Police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez. Justin’s Army buddy, Logan Duty, told the TDT news: “[Justin] was just gunned down in the middle of the night, and no one’s able to find out why. If I was there, and I was one of the detectives, I wouldn’t rest until I figured out why. … (Lewis) wanted to help others, willing to lay his life down defending someone. I haven’t met anyone who was dedicated to serving like him.”

“Pvt. Justin Lewis’ uncle, Jerry Lewis, said when you have a loved one go into the military, you deal with the fact you may lose them on the battlefield. They never imagined they would lose 19-year-old Justin on American soil, near a vacant lot in Killeen, Texas.” –11 ABC News

Related Links:
In loving memory of Justin Lewis
Pvt. Justin Antwan Lewis | Fallen Warriors
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier – Pvt. Justin Antwan Lewis
Fort Hood soldier found dead identified
Man found dead in Killeen identified by police
Fort Hood soldier shot dead Monday night in Killeen, Texas
Killeen homicide victim was Fort Hood soldier, Army says
Teen found dead near vacant lot in Killeen neighborhood identified
19-year-old Fort Hood soldier shot and killed in Killeen
Young soldier from NC shot and killed in Texas
Soldier from NC shot to death in Texas, officials say
Soldier from Henderson shot, killed in Texas, army base says
Family seeks answers after NC soldier slain in Texas
Family grieves loss of Henderson soldier, looks for answers
Friends remember Henderson man killed in Texas
School Remembers Soldier from Vance County Found Dead Near Fort Hood
Soldier’s death in Killeen weighs heavy on friend 8 months later
52 Deaths at Fort Hood Since January 2016 ~ 14 Since January 2017…Normal Or HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS?
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
Killeen Calling in Feds to Combat Crime
Gangs in the US Army Documentary
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook
Seeking Justice with Change Your POV

Pvt. Wanya Bruns Died by Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound Nine Months After Joining Army; One of Many in 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas (2016)

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Pvt. Wanya Bruns, US Army

Army  soldier Pvt. Wanya Bruns, 20, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Killeen, Texas on November 26, 2016. Pvt. Bruns’ home of record is listed as Bellwood, Illinois and he joined the Army in February 2016. Pvt. Bruns was a cavalry scout assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in Texas. At the time of the report, the Killeen Police Department investigated the circumstances of Bruns’ death and their findings indicated the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. In effect, Pvt. Bruns committed suicide nine months after joining the Army; five months after getting to Fort Hood. The following comment on MJFA under Spc. Zachary Moore’s story begs the question: Why Are Army Soldiers at Fort Hood Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside?

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Comment left on MJFA on 1/18/18

Related Links:
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook
Pvt. Wanya Bruns, 1st Cavalry Division
Army: Fort Hood soldier died from apparent gunshot wound
Fort Hood: Soldier who died of gunshot wound identified
Fort Hood soldier dead of gunshot wound identified
Fort Hood Soldier Dies Of Gunshot Wound
Soldier killed from gunshot at Fort Hood identified
US Army soldier based at Fort Hood is found dead – making him the TWELFTH GI from the Texas base to die in the last two months as investigators probe bizarre cluster of suicides, accidents and fatal fights at the base
What’s going on at Fort Hood, Texas, where 11 soldiers have died in three months
Army investigates death of soldier from Houston area
Gun Violence Archive | Wanya Bruns, Killeen, Texas
Honoring the U.S. Service Members Who Died in November 2016
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
75 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 7 Overseas Deaths, 3 Non Combat; 68 Stateside Deaths, 34 ‘Suicides’, 1 Unsolved Homicide (2018)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
In Memory of Keonte Griggs & Wanya Bruns. Rest In Heaven. The Brothers


In Memory of Keonte Griggs & Wanya Bruns. Rest In Heaven. The Brothers

On This Day, Army Specialist Yingming Sun Died in a Flash Flood Training Accident at Fort Hood in Texas (June 2, 2016)

Yingming Sun Army

Spc. Yingming Sun, US Army

Spc. Yingming Sun, 25, of Monterey Park, California, joined the Army in October 2013. He was a motor transport operator and had been assigned to 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood since August 2014. His awards and decorations include National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon.

Learn more from III Corps and Fort Hood Facebook page here.

For more information: On This Day, Eight Army Soldiers & One West Point Cadet Died in a Flash Flood Training Accident at Fort Hood in Texas (June 2, 2016)

Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX):

Mr. Speaker, Texas has been hammered by historic torrential rain and flooding. As the Texas floodwaters rose, 12 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas, were crossing Owl Creek in a 21⁄2-ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle when it became stuck in the Owl Creek low water crossing.

Suddenly, the vehicle was swept over and sent downstream by fast-moving water. Nine American soldiers drowned in the massive flood waters. Today, we remember them, and here they are: Staff Sergeant Miguel Colon Vazquez, 38, from New York.

He had just spent four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan; Specialist Christine Armstrong, 27, of California; PFC Brandon Banner, 22, of Florida; PFC Zachery Fuller, 23, of Florida; Private Isaac Deleon, 19, of Texas. He was the youngest of all of them.

He had only been in the Army for 17 months; Private Eddy Rae’Laurin Gates, 20, of North Carolina—a former homecoming queen; Private Tysheena James, 21, of New Jersey; West Point cadet Mitchell Winey, 21, of Indiana; Specialist Yingming Sun, 25, of California. These are the nine who drowned recently in the Texas floods.

The soldiers were members of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division. These American soldiers were volunteers who swore to protect the United States.

They were a cut above the rest and were ready to defend freedom at home and abroad. Their lives were ripped from this world and their families all too soon. We are grateful for them and their families for their service and their sacrifices.

These soldiers are the best of America. Our thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers and their families, who have been devastated by the floods of Texas this spring.

Related Links:
SPC Yingming Sun (1990-2016)
Yingming Sun, 25, of Copperas Cove died June 2
Officials ID 9th Soldier Killed by Flood Waters During Training Accident
Army releases names of all 9 soldiers killed in Fort Hood truck accident
9th Soldier Killed in Fort Hood Flood Identified
Soldier killed in June 2 Fort Hood accident buried in Killeen
SoCal soldiers ID’d as 2 of 9 killed in Fort Hood training accident
2 SoCal Residents Among 9 Soldiers Killed in Fort Hood Accident
Two Southern California residents among nine soldiers killed in Ft. Hood accident
2 Southern California Residents Among 9 Soldiers Killed in Fort Hood Training Accident
Flash flooding kills 9 | Fort Hood Sentinel
The Faces of the Fort Hood Tragedy
Profiles of the Fort Hood Soldiers Tragically Killed By Texas Flooding
Fort Hood Flood Victims: Photos to Remember the Fallen Soldiers
Fort Hood memorial held for drowned soldiers
Community mourns soldiers killed in accident
Thousands honor Fort Hood fallen Soldiers
Fallen soldiers honored with flowers on Fort Hood
1 year since 9 died at Fort Hood
9 remembered on anniversary of deaths
Fort Hood: Anniversary of deaths of 9 soldiers passes quietly
Families remember the 9 who died in 2016 training accident
Families continue to grieve one year after nine die in flooding on Fort Hood
‘They never should have been out there’: Fort Hood soldier’s father struggles to understand deadly disaster
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
The Fort Hood Nine | Ted Poe | Medium
The Fort Hood, Texas, Nine | Congressman Ted Poe

Fort Hood Army Staff Sergeant Ellsworth Allen Raup III Died After Motorcycle Crashed Into the Back of a Van on U.S. 190 in Killeen, Texas (May 9, 2016)

Ellsworth Raup

Ellsworth Raup III, U.S. Army

Staff Sergeant Ellsworth Allen Raup III, 33, passed away suddenly on May 9th, 2016 in Killeen, Texas. According to KWTX 10, Staff Sergeant Raup was following a van too closely on U.S. 190 when it stopped suddenly and he didn’t have time to react. As a result, he slammed into the van with his motorcycle and was thrown through the rear window. Allen was born in Texas City, Texas on November 13th, 1982. He was an Eagle Scout and graduated from La Marque High School in 2001 where he was active in the ROTC program. After graduation, he married Dana Pacheco-Raup on October 29, 2001. He enlisted in the Marine Corps while still in high school and attended boot camp in November 2001. During his time in the Marines, he served two deployments, one to Iraq and one to Honduras. He transferred to the Army in 2010 and was trained as an EOD technician. Staff Sergeant Raup served as a team leader with the 797th Explosive Ordnance Division and was also attached to the 752nd Ordnance Company at Fort Hood. He was deployed twice with the Army, once to Iraq and once to Kuwait. Allen was awarded numerous medal and awards during his military career including commendations from the Army, Marines, and the Joint Services.

Source: Obituary, Carnes Funeral Home

Related Links:
Ellsworth Raup III | Legacy.com
Ellsworth Allen Raup III | Killeen Daily Herald
Obituary: SSG Ellsworth Raup (Nov 13, 1982 – May 9, 2016)
797th Ordnance Company – EOD Memorial
Motorcycle slams into rear of van; rider thrown through rear window
Missouri soldier killed in fatal accident in Texas
Army probing death of investigator at Fort Hood, 1 of 6 deaths at the base this year
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Fort Hood Army Sgt. William Edwards Killed Estranged Wife Sgt. Erin Edwards at Home in Killeen, Texas; Killed Self in Apartment Complex Parking Lot Across Street (July 22, 2004)

Erin Edwards

Sgt. Erin Edwards, US Army

Police found the body of Army Sgt. Erin Edwards, 24, on the front porch of her home in a military community near Fort Hood on July 22, 2004. Erin was shot in the head. A short time later in an apartment complex parking lot across the street, the body of Erin’s estranged husband, Sgt. William Edwards, 24, was found. He suffered what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a gun was recovered at the scene. The couple left behind a 4 year old son and 20 month old daughter who were not home at the time of the shootings. Media reports indicate that the couple had a violent domestic history and neighbors shared that the police were constantly at the residence because of domestic problems. Both Erin and William Edwards served with the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq before returning to Fort Hood in early 2004. The Killeen Police Department investigated the shooting deaths of these two Fort Hood, Texas soldiers as a murder-suicide.

Related Links:
Murder-suicide victims identified
Murder-suicide couple identified by Killeen police
Husband-wife soldiers killed in apparent murder-suicide
Soldiers’ deaths may have been murder-suicide
When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly
When stress turns fatal
Death on the Home Front