Tragic news broke yesterday from the community near Fort Drum, New York, after an active duty U.S. Army soldier allegedly shot and killed his wife and responding New York State Trooper Joel Davis.
The soldier, Staff Sergeant Justin Dean Walters, is assigned to a rifle company in a Brigade Combat Team at Fort Drum. He was arrested late Sunday night after surrendering without a fight to police after shooting Trooper Davis in his driveway.
Walters’ wife Nichole was pronounced dead at the scene, and Davis died of his wounds an hour after being shot. According to his initial appearance in court, Walters was charged with first and second-degree murder.
Details are scant this early after incidents like these, and Walters has reportedly denied understanding his involvement in the killings. But what has already emerged in some media reports is the fact that Walters, an infantryman, has served two year-long deployments to Afghanistan, once in 2009, and again in 2012. He also was reportedly arrested while in ninth grade for plotting with a fellow classmate to assemble a “kill list” of people they intended to murder, and subsequently commit suicide shortly afterwards. It appears possible that Walters had troubling mental health issues long before ever becoming a member of the Army or serving in combat, yet his combat experience is already being cited as some sort of warning sign.