Stars and Stripes: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s Most Crime-Ridden Post? (August 21, 2020)

#IAmVanessaGuillen

by Rose Thayer

Keeping Track

“In the last five years, 165 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood have died, according to the Fort Hood Public Affairs Office, which regularly released information on soldiers’ death until a 2018 decision to stop the practice. The post was an outlier in this level of transparency.

In those years, seven soldiers died by homicide, while six died in a combat zone. The deaths of 70 soldiers were ruled suicides, and on- and off-base accidents resulted in the deaths of 60 soldiers.”

(Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present) *we missed close to 25 deaths because Fort Hood stopped issuing press releases for the death of soldiers in early 2018)

Asking for a Solution

Air Force veteran Jennifer Norris believes Fort Hood’s current situation has been years in the making.

For the past decade, Norris, a trained social worker with a master’s degree in public policy, has been tracking crimes committed by and against service members and advocating for reform. She posts her research on her website, Military Justice for All.

She first focused her research on several large military bases, but after noticing a trend of Fort Hood deaths, Norris narrowed her efforts to the Texas post.

‘I didn’t set up to go after Fort Hood at all. It’s a compilation of systematic issues,’ she said.

At the end of 2017, Norris used her own money to travel from her home in Maine to Washington to meet with lawmakers. By the time she got home, Norris said she thought everyone had moved on without intending to address the problems.

‘The other bases are nothing like Fort Hood is right now,’ she said. ‘I think the anomaly with Fort Hood is that its isolated and that it’s such an economic powerhouse in the community that it’s in everybody’s best interest to protect it so they can protect themselves.’”

(Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017))

Read more here: Why is Fort Hood the Army’s most crime-ridden post?

Related Links:
Fort Hood Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Calls for Congressional Hearings & Independent Investigations (August 16, 2007)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)
Rep. Seth Moulton Introduces The Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)
Open Letter to House of Representatives in Support of an Independent Investigation of the Murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood (July 7, 2020)
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)

Six Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)

While investigators searched for Spc. Vanessa Guillen, the skeletal remains of Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales were found near Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. His mother, Kim Wedel, wishes investigators looked for her son like they did Guillen. He had been missing for ten months. Once former Fort Hood soldier Jorgina Butler read about the disappearance and death of Guillen, she said it returned her to the night she was sexually by a staff sergeant in 2009. On July 29, 2020, lawmakers plan to hold a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. focused on the review of Fort Hood’s handling of sexual misconduct in the wake of a national outcry for justice for Guillen and her family. –Austin American-Statesman (July 28, 2020)

Unsolved Homicides (2016 to Present):

Solved: Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Two Arrested & Charged (May 18, 2020)

Related Links:
What Is Happening At Fort Hood? | Missing People in America
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Killeen, Texas Neighborhood (April 17, 2017)
Unsolved Homicide: Army Veteran Cleveland Jermaine “CJ” Lewis Fatally Shot & Killed in Front of Home in Killeen, Texas Neighborhood (August 4, 2018)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales Reported AWOL; Based on Anonymous Tip, Remains Found in Shallow Grave in Killeen 10 Months Later (August 19, 2019)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Spc. Shelby Jones Died of Gunshot Wound at Mickey’s Convenience Store in Killeen, Texas; Shot at Nearby Night Club (March 1, 2020)
Unsolved Homicide: Asia Cline, Army Veteran Shaquan Allred, & Fort Hood Spc. Freddy Delacruz, Jr. Found Shot Dead at Killeen, Texas Apartment (March 14, 2020)
Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Local PD Takes Lead (May 18, 2020)
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood | Jensen and Holes | The Murder Squad Podcast (July 6, 2020)
7 soldiers have died in the Fort Hood area this year  | Task and Purpose
Here’s what we know about eight of the soldiers who have died this year at Fort Hood
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood

Other Suspicious Deaths (deaths ruled suicide, accident, etc.; doesn’t add up):
Fort Hood Army Cpl. Christopher Ferguson Died of Undetermined Causes; CID Claimed Death Was Accident; CBS News Reported Suicide (March 25, 2007)
Army SSG Devin Schuette Found Dead in Vehicle at Recreation Area Near Fort Hood; CID Ruled Suicide, Spouse Requests Independent Investigation (January 3, 2016)
Army Sgt. Marcus Nelson Sr. Died While in Custody at Bell County Jail in Belton, Texas; Nelson Held on Charges Stemming from 1st Cavalry Division (May 23, 2016)
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)
Fort Hood Army Pvt. Dakota Stump Found Dead on Post Three Weeks After Vehicle Accident; Family Wants Missing ‘Warrior Alert’ Law (November 3, 2016)
Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Ft Hood Housing in Texas; Despite Suicide Ruling, Family Requests Homicide Investigation (Dec. 24, 2016)
Fort Hood Army CID Special Agent Steven Hines Found Dead Behind Office Building of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Death Ruled Suicide (February 5, 2017)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Justen Ogden Found Unresponsive at On-Post Home; Family Questions Cause of Death Ruling Claiming “None of It Ever Added Up” (July 11, 2017)
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)
Timeline: Army Sgt. Kelton Sphaler & Army Vet Scott Weinhold Reported Missing at Belton Lake on Ft Hood; After Search Launched, Recovered in Water (January 21, 2019)
Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber Died of Injuries Sustained Conducting Maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Texas Base (September 5, 2019)

*this list is not complete

RT America: Grim Body Count at Fort Hood Army Base (July 29, 2020)

Yet another body was recovered near Fort Hood army base in Texas. This is the fourth dead soldier found there in a month, further adding to the compound’s robust history of violence and harassment toward personnel. -RT America (July 29, 2020)

Related Links:
Grim Body Count at Fort Hood Army Base
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Rep. Seth Moulton Introduces The Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)

The Brandon Act Seth Moulton.png

Representative Seth Moulton Press Release

The bill named in Caserta’s honor would create “Brandon Act” reporting, making it easier for service members to seek mental health care anonymously

Brandon Caserta

PO3 Brandon Caserta, U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Teri and Patrick Caserta, parents of fallen United States Navy Petty Officer Third Class Brandon Caserta, announced the introduction of The Brandon Act.

The bill would allow service members to anonymously report and seek mental health treatment by using a safe word like “Brandon Act.” It is designed to protect service members who experience mental health emergencies that result from hazing, bullying, or any other issue. It would allow them to seek help anonymously and, if necessary, outside of the chain of command. The bill’s introduction comes on the second anniversary of Brandon Caserta’s death from suicide, which he said was prompted by bullying and hazing within his unit.

“Brandon had a smile that made everyone want to smile. He was a very charismatic and upbeat young man. He made everyone’s day better no matter what they were going through. Brandon has always helped everyone he could. The Brandon Act would do this for his fellow service members in his death,” Teri and Patrick Caserta said, “Brandon did not die in vain and his legacy for helping others will continue long after his death when The Brandon Act is passed.”

Rep. Seth Moulton said: “Brandon tragically lost his life because he wasn’t able to get support for his mental health—something we should provide every American, especially every American hero in uniform. This bill will ensure our service members can get help and have no fear of retaliation for doing so, as it’s the right thing to do. Although we’ll never get Brandon back, his legacy will be the lives of many more great Americans he saves through this bill, and I’m proud of his parents who have fought so hard to tell his story and make this change.”

Brandon Caserta died by suicide on June 25, 2018 on the flight line at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. After his death, his parents and friends discovered six notes in which Brandon attributed his suicide to persistent hazing and bullying from some members and leaders of his Navy helicopter squadron.

The Brandon Act expands the existing law that regulates how service members are referred for mental health evaluations, in order to provide a confidential channel for service members to self-report mental health issues. The process would protect the anonymity of service members, similar to the restricted reporting option that protects victims of sexual assault.

Moulton made expanding mental health care and breaking the stigma around seeking help a top priority since disclosing last year that he is managing post traumatic stress from his service in Iraq as a United States Marine. In addition to The Brandon Act, Moulton has secured mandatory mental health check ups for service members who saw combat within 21 days of leaving the battlefield in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act.

He also co-introduced, with fellow veteran Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which would make 9-8-8 the national number for mental health emergencies. The bill has passed in the Senate, and is one step away from a vote on the House floor. Yesterday, the FCC announced that it would issue a final rule on the designation of 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention hotline in mid-July.

A copy of The Brandon Act is available for download here.

A legislative summary for The Brandon Act is available for download here.

Read more from the original source on Rep. Seth Moulton’s website here.

Related Links:
The Brandon Act (website)
The Brandon Act (Facebook)
Moulton Introduces Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)
Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta Died by Suicide at Naval Station Norfolk; Family Pushing for Suicide Prevention Legislation ‘The Brandon Act’ Focusing on Hazing & Bullying (June 25, 2018)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (October 21, 2016)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (Jan 1, 2016 to Present) 
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
Military Justice for All (Facebook)

Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Found Fatally Shot Four Miles From Burning Jeep in Harker Heights, Texas; Two Arrested & Charged (May 18, 2020)

Brandon Rosecrans

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans, 27, of Kimberling City, Missouri, was found dead on the southern edge of Harker Heights, Texas on May 18, 2020. Brandon Rosecrans’ was a shooting victim and his body was found along Fuller Lane just north of the western end of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. His orange-colored 2016 Jeep Renegade was discovered on fire about four miles from his body. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Harker Heights Fire Marshal. Pfc. Rosecrans served as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division since November 2018. Pfc. Rosecrans enlisted in the Army in May 2018.

Harker Heights, Texas, Police Chief Phillip Gadd reported that following a preliminary investigation, they’ve determined that Brandon Rosecrans died from a gunshot wound and that his death was being investigated as a murder. The murder and arson investigations are being run concurrently by the Harker Height’s police and fire departments and the U.S. Army CID. According to the Army CID, the Harker Heights Police Department is the lead investigative agency for Brandon Rosecrans’ death. Anyone with information, “no matter how insignificant it may seem,” is asked to come forward and contact Army CID, the military police or their local law enforcement agency.

“The Harker Heights Police Criminal Investigation Division is asking anyone with information about this murder to contact them at 254-953-5400. Individuals may also provide information to Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” -Harker Heights PD Press Release (May 19, 2020)

On August 5th, 2020, Brandon Olivares was charged with the murder of Brandon Rosecrans. Estrellia “Star” Falcon was charged with using Rosecran’s Jeep & hindering prosecution. See media updates and affidavit below.

In the News:

Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans -KWKT FOX44 (May 20, 2020)

Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans -KOLR10 News (May 28, 2020)

Army Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans’ Funeral in Kimberling City

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Funeral -KOLR10 News (June 2, 2020)

His vehicle was found on fire 15 mins after he was found about 4 miles away. Let help get brandon justice. His reward is only 1000 it needs upped. Also his service if you want to pay your respect and watch. -A thin line between Love and homicide (June 29, 2020)

Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans was found dead near his burning Jeep a short drive from the base, killed by a gunshot wound. Police and Army investigators are now investigating the death as a possible murder. -Military Times (July 1, 2020)

Brandon Michael Olivares was charged with the murder of Brandon Rosecrans and had a bond set at $1 million. -KCEN News (August 6, 2020)

A Killeen couple is in jail after Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, a 27-year-old Fort Hood soldier, was murdered in May. KTBC FOX 7 Austin (August 19, 2020)

Press Releases:

FHPC Brandon Rosecrans

Fort Hood Press Center Press Release for Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans (Editor’s Note: Fort Hood will delete this press release, hence the reason it’s been preserved)

HH PR Brandon Rosecrans

Harker Heights Police Department Press Release for Brandon Rosecrans

Brandon Rosecrans Fort Hood

Affidavit for Brandon Olivares (August 5, 2020)

Related Links:
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier (Fort Hood Press Center)
Harker Heights Police Department – Posts | Facebook
Police identify shooting victim found dead along local road
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood soldier found shot dead near burning Jeep
Fort Hood soldier found shot in the head inside burning car, police say
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Man killed in Harker Heights Monday identified as Fort Hood soldier
Fort Hood soldier found shot dead miles from his vehicle burning near Texas base
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death two minutes after car found engulfed in flames
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death and vehicle burned identified by US Army
Soldier from Kimberling City killed in Texas shooting
Video: Fort Hood soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
Fort Hood soldier found shot to death and vehicle burned identified by US Army
Harker Heights police investigating shooting death of Fort Hood soldier as murder
Texas authorities investigating death of soldier from Kimberling City, Mo.
Parents of Kimberling City soldier open up about their son’s murder, legacy
Ep31. MISSING x2: Missing in Fort Hood (Vanessa Guillen & Gregory Morales) | Military Murder Podcast
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood
What Is Happening At Fort Hood? – Missing People In America
Man found dead in Harker Heights identified as Fort Hood soldier
Soldiers Funeral in Kimberling City
Fort Hood Soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
Digital First Video: Parents of Brandon Rosecrans
Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans Funeral | KOLR10 News
PFC Brandon Scott Rosecrans found shot on the side of the road shot
Man arrested for murder of Fort Hood soldier who was found dead on the side of the road
Cell phone pings, neighborhood videos, burned Jeep key used to catch Fort Hood soldier’s killer, affidavit says
Texas man shot Fort Hood soldier over gun sale dispute and local woman helped afterward, affidavits say
Slain soldier was shot 4 times at close range, affidavit says
Slain soldier was shot 4 times at close range, perhaps while asleep, affidavit says
Killeen couple had roles in killing, dumping body of Fort Hood soldier, affidavits say
Murder suspect tried to blame others for death of Ft. Hood soldier, police say
Police: Murder suspect tried to blame others for death of Ft. Hood soldier

Army Veteran Brandon Brown Found Unresponsive in Harker Heights, Texas Home; Death Ruled Suicide by Local PD; Family Seeks Answers (March 20, 2020)

Brandon Brown 1

Brandon Brown, U.S. Army Veteran (photo: family)

Army veteran Brandon Brown 34, of Harker Heights, Texas, formerly of Shelbyville, Tennessee was found unresponsive on March 20, 2020 in his Harker Heights, Texas home. The Harker Heights Police Department’s cause of death ruling was suicide (self-inflicted gunshot wound). Brandon was preceded in death by his brother, Cameron Matthew Murray. He is survived by his parents and six siblings. According to family, Brandon was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2013 and his last place of duty was at Fort Hood, Texas. Brandon was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression; he sought care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The family feels uneasy about the entire situation and rightfully wants answers and justice for their loved one. Why would the local police department refuse entry in a “crime scene” when the death was ruled suicide? Why was the family not allowed to make an identification? Why did it take so long for them to receive Brandon’s body? Why was the Justice of the Peace pressuring the family to agree with the suicide ruling? Why pressure the family to cremate their loved one when it’s entirely up to them to make that decision. Help us hold the Harker Heights Police Department accountable and elevate the family’s voices so they can get Justice for Brandon Brown.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Brandon Brown are described in the below testimony by family:

On March 20, 2020 my brother, Brandon Brown, was found deceased in his home in Harker Heights, Texas. My mother received two phone calls before the detective called, one phone call she received was informing her the police gained access to the house, and then the other was a female telling my mother “She needed to get a pen and paper and write down this phone number. It’s not good but you have to hear it.” Then she went on to say, “It’s bad but not that bad.” Leaving us with false hope that Brandon was okay. Once the detective called my mother he informed her Brandon was found his home deceased and it was an apparent suicide. No one had heard from Brandon since around March 11, 2020. Family members called asking the Harker Heights Police Department to do a welfare check numerous times and we had the Veterans Affairs on the phone expressing the importance to get into his house due to Brandon having PTSD and depression. In the police report the detective wrote,” … there was no indication anything was wrong…”

On March 21, 2020 we arrived in Harker Heights, Texas at Brandon’s residence and there were two vehicles in the driveway. Two of my siblings got out of the vehicle to see who was at Brandon’s house and a man answered the door and quickly pulled the door up to his neck when my siblings stated who they were. He told them and my mother they could not come in because it was an active crime scene. As they were walking back from the house, another vehicle pulled up and a female got out with an attitude, and told my mother the man in the house was correct, it’s an active crime scene, he was the only one allowed in the house. (She was also on the phone with a person I choose not to identify at the moment.) The police were called and we got back into the vehicle to wait for them to arrive. While we were waiting both the male and female were on the porch laughing, pointing at the car, and going in and out of Brandon’s house. Neither of these individuals know any of us in the vehicle but gave statements to the police on March 20, 2020 saying we were “wretched” and “… it could get ugly.” The other individual stated “she was familiar with the family and was actually on the phone with her brother…”

It took exactly a month for them to release Brandon’s body so we could bring him back to Tennessee. They did not allow my mother or Brandon’s father to identify his body. The Justice of the Peace even tried to pressure my mother into say she believed Brandon died by suicide. They were pushing for cremation telling us his skin was falling off the bone.

We, the Brown family, need your help to find out what really took place with our loved one. We have reasonable doubt that foul play has taken place with our loved one. We do not believe the Harker Heights Police Department’s investigation was thorough or efficient in their findings.

-Brandon’s Family

Brandon Brown 2

Brandon Brown, U.S. Army Veteran (photo: family)

Related Links:
Obituary: Brandon Marquis Brown
Obituary: Brandon Marquis Brown
Justice for Brandon Brown | Facebook
Military Justice for All | Facebook
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Unsolved Homicide: Asia Cline, Army Veteran Shaquan Allred, & Fort Hood Spc. Freddy Delacruz, Jr. Found Shot Dead at Killeen, Texas Apartment (March 14, 2020)

“Spc. Freddy Beningo Delacruz Jr., 23, was one of three dead people discovered at about 1:40 a.m. in a unit of the Summerlyn Apartments in Killeen by local police officers who were responding to a call about a water leak, according to the Killeen Police Department. The other victims were a man and a woman, who were identified Tuesday as Army veteran Shaquan Markell Allred, 23, and Asia Cline, 22.”

“Killeen detectives are asking anyone who might have seen anything or has information about the homicides to contact Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. Anonymous tips also can be sent through the P3Tips App for IOS or Android. All information is confidential and anonymous and if a person’s tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, that person could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.”

Read more from Stars and Stripes here.

Related Links:
What Is Happening At Fort Hood?
What’s Going on At Fort Hood?
Triple homicide victims identified
Fort Hood soldier dead in triple murder
Killeen Police Department identifies victims in triple homicide
Soldier identified as victim in Texas triple homicide
Soldier among the dead in Killeen triple homicide
Three people found shot to death inside Killeen apartment
Three people found shot to death inside Killeen apartment
Killeen: 3 victims of deadly shooting at local complex identified
Victims of Killeen triple homicide identified, include 23-year-old Fort Hood soldier
Army veteran, Fort Hood soldier found shot dead at Texas apartment
Fort Hood Soldier’s murder brings unsolved cases to light
Three homicides in two days reported in Killeen
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present) | Military Justice for All
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017) | Military Justice for All
Austin American-Statesman: Vanessa Guillen’s Death Shines Light on More Tragedies at Fort Hood (July 28, 2020)
Seven Unsolved Homicide Cases Affiliated with Fort Hood (January 1, 2016 to Present)
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Spc. Shelby Jones Died of Gunshot Wound at Mickey’s Convenience Store in Killeen, Texas; Shot at Nearby Night Club (March 1, 2020)

Shelby Tyler Jones Army

Spc. Shelby Jones, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Spc. Shelby Tyler Jones, 20, was shot at a night club near the post and discovered dead about a half a mile away at Mickey’s Convenience Store in Killeen, Texas in the early morning hours of March 1, 2020. According to a press release issued by the Killeen Police Department, officers immediately began performing life-saving measures while they waited for emergency medical services to arrive. Shelby Jones succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Daryl Peters. Peters ordered an autopsy to be performed at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, Texas. During the Killeen PD investigation, they determined the shooting happened about 40 minutes earlier at Club Dreams. Police are still searching for the shooter, but they said they are investigating Jones’ death as a homicide.

Shelby Jones served in the U.S. Army for almost three years. He and his wife resided in Temple, Texas, while he served at nearby Ft. Hood. He is survived by his wife, parents, and two siblings. According to a Fort Hood press release, Spc. Jones is from Jena, Louisiana and entered the Army after high school in May 2017 as a cavalry scout. He joined Fort Hood’s 3rd Cavalry Regiment in August 2018 and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from May 2018 to January 2019. Homicide detectives determined that Jones was shot at Club Dreams on S. Fort Hood Street and are asking anyone who was at the club that night and may have seen anything or have information to contact Detective Uvalle at 254-501-8854 or the Bell County Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477).

“We are asking anyone who may have seen anything or has information about this murder, to contact Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477) or go online at http://www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. You can also download the P3Tips App for IOS or Android and give an anonymous tip. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible, you could be eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000 in cash.” –Killeen PD Press Release

Press Releases:

Shelby Jones KPD PR

Killeen Police Department Press Release for Shelby Jones (March 1, 2020)

Shelby Tyler Jones Hood PR

Fort Hood Press Release for Death of Shelby Tyler Jones (screenshot of press release because Fort Hood will delete this)

Related Links:
Obituary: Shelby Jones
Killeen Police Investigate a Murder
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier – Fort Hood Press Center
KPD investigating early morning homicide
20-Year-Old Dead in Killeen Shooting
20-Year-Old Dead in Killeen Shooting
Killeen homicide stemmed from shooting at nightclub
Killeen Man Gunned Down at Convenience Store on S. Ft. Hood Road
Fort Hood soldier killed at a Texas strip club
Fort Hood soldier shot at Killeen strip club, later died
Brave Rifles soldier was shot at strip club before his death
Recent homicide victim was Army soldier, Fort Hood officials say
Recent homicide victim was Army soldier, Fort Hood officials say
Killeen: Man found dead at convenience store was shot at strip club
Recent homicide victim was Army soldier, Fort Hood officials say
Recent homicide victim was Army soldier, Fort Hood officials say
Man shot to death at night club in Killeen found at convenience store, police looking for suspect
Fort Hood soldier one of three victims found shot dead at Texas apartment
Killeen police investigating shooting death in southwest Killeen
Killeen Police seek information following deadly shooting
KPD Homicide Unit Seeks Your Help with Murder Investigation
Fort Hood Soldier’s murder brings unsolved cases to light
Fort Hood soldier’s murder brings unsolved cases to forefront
The Murder of Vanessa Guillen and the Unsolved Homicides of Fort Hood
What Is Happening At Fort Hood? – Missing People In America
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber Died of Injuries Sustained Conducting Maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at Texas Base (September 5, 2019)

Mason Webber

Spc. Mason Webber, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Spc. Mason Webber, 22, died from injuries sustained while he was conducting maintenance on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on September 5, 2019 at the base in Texas. Spc. Webber’s home of record is listed as Marion, Iowa. Spc. Webber entered the Army in March 2018 as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle system maintainer. He was assigned to 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood since August 2018. Base officials did not detail how Spc. Webber’s death occurred but said the incident was under investigation by the Army Combat Readiness Center. In one KCRG report, his mom Tonya Grefe said “He was more than just a soldier. He was Mason first and he was very proud to serve his country. He was always wearing that smile no matter what was going on in his life.”

Mason Webber was one of four siblings and loved country music. He was also a husband and his daughter was born on October 28, 2019, a little over a month after he died. The circumstances surrounding Mason’s death have been under investigation since the workplace safety mishap occurred; the family revealed at the time that there were few details released about how it happened (see below for update from the family). Mason Webber was one of thirty Army soldiers who died stateside while stationed at Fort Hood in 2019. Most of the deaths could be attributed to training accidents, auto & motorcycle accidents, drownings, unsolved homicide, and suicide. For a running history of the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood since 2016, please click here: Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Please sign the family’s petition to “close down Ft Hood for the safety of all soldiers there.”

“My son PFC Mason Webber was killed while doing routine Maintenance on a Bradley Fighter Vehicle. The NCO was told specifically not to work on this specific Bradley. The NCO chose to ignore that order. He ordered a strap to be attached to the lifting crane to hold up the compartment panel lid. The strap is only capable of holding up to 500 lbs. The correct eye hooks were all packed away due to deployment. The hydraulic cylinder snapped off and the strap was not able to hold up the lid from dropping on my son and crushing him. The same  NCO was deployed and still leading troops overseas to this day.”

“My sons story is only one of many more where leadership has failed their soldiers. There have been too many missing soldiers, gone for days before anyone notices. Also deaths ruled suicide which later prove to be homicide when families pay to have their own investigations & autopsies done. Too many training accidents have occurred there as well which could have been prevented. My sons death was one of them. Attention needs to be given to this base and either shut down or a major change in leadership roles should occur.”  Source: Petition for Mason Webber by Tonya Grefe

UPDATE (July 17, 2020): I’ll tell you exactly what happened to my son. The correct attachment to the lifting crane was not used due to the hooks all being pack away for deployment….even though they were still being told to work on the Bradley’s. The NCO told the crew to use a strap that can only hold 500 lbs because he didn’t want to take the time to go grab one out of the box. The lid fell when the hydraulic cylinder broke and the strap couldn’t hold it up. My sons skull was crushed. The leadership did not give a shit about their safety. That man is responsible for my sons death. No excuses, none of this “accidents happen” BS either. (Tonya Grefe provided the public with an update on the internal investigation, still awaiting outcome of results) 

Fort Hood Press Center Press Release:

Mason Webber Fort Hood

Death of a Fort Hood Soldier Press Release (including screenshot because they will delete this)

SAY HIS NAME 💔

“My son, PFC Mason Webber was failed by the Army and his NCO’s at FT HOOD. His blood is on their hands. There was a direct order to not work on the Bradley that ended up killing him. Well one NCO ignored those orders and ordered a strap to be used to hook up to the lifting crane to hold up the engine lid. A strap that is only approved to lift 500lbs. The correct hooks were all packed away for deployment and the NCO was too lazy to go look for one. When the hydraulic cylinder snapped off, the strap couldn’t hold up the lid and it fell crushing my son. My son wasn’t even working on that vehicle. He happened to walk by asking the others what was going on. They asked him to take a look and him being the nice guy he is wanted to help so they could all go home. If the correct lifting hook was used my son would still be here. The Army calls it a “mishap” in the investigation. It wasn’t a mishap, it was a huge fuck up on the part of the Army. It was life changing for his family, his wife and his daughter who will never get to meet her father. To the Army his death is just another incident on what not to do in the future. My sons life matters. Please SHARE my sons story so that it may be heard and hopefully changes can be made about the safety of our soldiers.”

Related Links:
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier
PFC Mason Webber – Salado Village Voice
Soldiers Lives Matter | Facebook Group
Fort Hood soldier died in maintenance mishap
Soldier Died While Working on Vehicle at Fort Hood
Fort Hood soldier died in maintenance accident
Ft. Hood names soldier who died after vehicle maintenance incident
Soldier dies while conducting vehicle maintenance at Fort Hood
Soldier dies of injuries sustained during maintenance on a Bradley
Army identifies soldier who died during vehicle maintenance at Fort Hood
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained while conducting fighting vehicle maintenance
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained during Bradley vehicle maintenance
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained during Bradley vehicle maintenance
Fort Hood soldier dies from injuries sustained during Bradley vehicle maintenance
Marion Soldier Dies of Injuries Sustained at Fort Hood
Ft. Hood names soldier who died after vehicle maintenance incident
Family releases photo of Marion soldier killed on Texas base
Iowa soldier who died in maintenance incident remembered for legacy he leaves behind
Salute to the Fallen will honor Mason Webber
ABC World News Tonight with David Muir

Mason Webber ABC News

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Mason Webber Tweet 2

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Indiana Army National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Andrew St. John Died in a Military Training Accident at Fort Hood, Texas (August 15, 2019)

Andrew St. John

Staff Sgt. Andrew St. John, Indiana Army National Guard (photo: ING)

Indiana Army National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Andrew St. John, 29, died in a military training accident at Fort Hood, Texas on August 15, 2019. According to media reports the incident was described as a tactical vehicle accident or a humvee rollover. Staff Sgt. St. John served in the Army National Guard for 10 years and was an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment. Staff Sgt. St. John’s obituary stated “during his service, he served in the Haiti Humanitarian Effort, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. Most recently, he took a position as Observed Controller/Trainer (OCT) training fellow service members in an operation named Wolf. Additionally, Andrew had taken classes at Central Nine in Greenwood, receiving his state certification for EMT and Firefighter. When able, he volunteered at Nineveh Fire Department.”

At the time of reporting, the cause of death was under investigation but the outcome of the investigation is not available on-line. WTHR reported Staff Sgt. St. John grew up in Martinsville, Indiana and graduated from Martinsville High School in 2009. They said his senior year he was crowned as prom king; he was often referred to as the “life of the party.” And Andrew St. John enjoyed golfing, riding his motorcycle and spending time with loved ones; he was a proud father of two children and a husband. In a statement issued by the Indiana National Guard, Lt. Col. Chad Pittman, commander of the 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment said, “He continually sought ways to ensure the success of subordinates, better himself as a leader, and contribute to the achievements of the organization. My deepest sympathy for his family at this sad and difficult time.”

“It’s important for us to realize these young men and women are all volunteers, and every one of those people serves and protects 100 people in the United States, it’s a 1 in 100 deal, 1 percent serves to protect the other 99 and people need to realize that’s a big commitment on young shoulders.” -Bruce McKee, Indiana Spirit of ’45 (Fox 59)

Related Links:
Obituary: SSG Andrew Michael St. John
Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, 29, dies at Ft. Hood
Greenwood man killed in Army accident
Army identifies Guardsman killed in training
Indiana Guardsman killed at Fort Hood was ‘proud father and husband’
Indiana National Guard Staff Sergeant from Greenwood dies in accident at Fort Hood
Indiana soldier, firefighter killed in military training accident in Texas
Greenwood Guard soldier who died in accident at Ft. Hood also local firefighter
Indiana National Guard soldier dies in training accident
Indiana National Guard soldier dies in tactical vehicle accident at Fort Hood
Indiana National Guard soldier dies in a tactical vehicle accident at Fort Hood
Decorated Indiana National Guard Soldier Dies During Fort Hood Training
Guard member who died after accident a Martinsville grad
Indiana National Guard soldier dies training at Fort Hood
Fort Hood: National Guard soldier dies in training accident
Indiana National Guard soldier dies training at Fort Hood
Public visitation planned for Indiana National Guard soldier who died in accident at Fort Hood
Indiana National Guard soldier who died in Fort Hood accident is identified
Soldier who died during Fort Hood training identified
Indiana National Guard soldier dies training at Fort Hood
Fatal Fort Hood training accident involved Humvee rollover
Indiana National Guard IDs Soldier Killed in Training Incident
Two Indiana soldiers have died in training accidents in the last 9 months
Four soldiers have been killed in military training accidents in the last week
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Salute to Fallen Foundation Honors Army Spc. Mason Webber; Vinton Today is First Publication to Honor & Acknowledge the Fort Hood Fallen (July 20, 2020)
Nineveh Fire Department Message | Facebook (August 21, 2019)