Police are currently investigating an apparent murder-suicide in North Carolina, involving a soldier named Keith Lewis with suspected post traumatic stress disorder who shot himself and, allegedly, his pregnant wife, during a domestic altercation on Sunday, December 20.
The gunman, Staff Sgt. Lewis, 31, was a member of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command stationed at Fort Bragg. According to Military.com, he served as a special operations combat medic. His wife, Sarah, 34, who was pregnant with their fourth child — due on Christmas Day, said family — had previously served in the military as well, up until the birth of their first child.
Keith reportedly emptied a series of shots into Sarah before turning the gun on himself, dying on the spot. Sarah was rushed to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, where she and her unborn daughter — which they planned to name Isabella — later died.
The couple's 3-year-old toddler was in the house at the time of the shooting, but she was not injured. Police say the child is safe with relatives at the moment.
“It’s complete shock. It’s like a horror movie,” Tammy De Mirza, Sarah's aunt, told local news. She described her niece's bubbly personality: “She was vivacious and fun and lighthearted and easygoing and really had a heart to be of service.”
De Mirza also noted that she does believe her niece's husband had PTSD, as well as an alcohol problem. She related that he had threatened suicide before in the past. "From what I understand, he drank, and when he drank he lost it," she said.
"We are profoundly saddened at the tragic passing of Staff Sgt. and Mrs. Lewis," said Lt. Col. Mark Finnegan, commander of the 98th Civil Affairs Battalion, where Keith was assigned, in a statement. "Our soldiers and families are the bedrock of our unit and any loss deeply affects our formations."
Sarah's aunt says that she is prepared to forgive her deceased nephew-in-law for his horrific crimes. "He was obviously very troubled," she said. "There is nothing in my heart but forgiveness."
De Mirza hopes that her niece's death can serve to inform others about domestic violence. “I love her, and I refuse to let her memory be that of a victim. To be honest with you, I’m going to use this to educate people. I’m not going to let her death be in vain,” she vowed.