Keith Lewis Fort Bragg soldier shoots pregnant wife, Sarah Lewis dead then self. North Carolina based army sergeant suffered PTSD & subjected wife to prior domestic violence.
A Fort Bragg soldier fatally shot his heavily pregnant wife in front of their three-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself in an apparent murder-suicide in North Carolina, according to police.
Sergeant Keith Lewis, 31, of Sarasota, Florida, was a member of the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Fayetteville on Sunday night, WRAL reported.
Lewis, who reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, shot his wife Sarah Lewis, 34, who was due to give birth to their fourth child on Christmas Day, before taking his own life. Police said the man shot at his wife ‘several times’ before shooting himself.
Sarah was rushed to the hospital where she and her unborn daughter, who the couple had planned to name Isabella, later died.
Authorities say the couple’s three-year-old daughter had been home at the time of the shooting but was not harmed. She is now in the care of her other relatives.
Fired 20 rounds
Fort Bragg said Lewis enlisted in the U.S. Army in Sept. 2007 and served as a Special Operations combat medic.
‘We are profoundly saddened at the tragic passing of Staff Sgt. and Mrs. Lewis. Our soldiers and families are the bedrock of our unit and any loss deeply affects our formations,’ stated Lt. Col. Mark Finnegan, 98th Civil Affairs Battalion Commander. ‘We are working to provide the utmost support to the family and our team.’
Neighbor, Emilia Rivera, who was at home with her boyfriend at the time, recalled hearing gunshots ring out on the 900 block of Willow Street around 7pm.
‘We heard the gunshots. Immediately [my boyfriend] was like, “You know someone just died. You don’t shoot that many gunshots and not try to kill somebody”,’ she told WRAL.
Another witness said he saw Lewis fire about ’20 rounds’ from an ‘automatic weapon’ before running back into the home.
He said Lewis was still alive when police arrived at the scene and had spoken to officers for ‘about 15 minutes.’
Cops then tried to talk the father-of-three into surrendering and exiting the house, but were unsuccessful.
History of domestic violence
Sarah’s aunt, Tammy De Mirza said Lewis had threatened his wife in the past and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Fayetteville Observer reported police had responded to a domestic incident involving the couple at the home in 2016 but no charges were filed.
Of note, Lewis faced a misdemeanor assault by pointing a gun charge in 2016 in Cumberland County. The report listed Sarah Lewis as the victim WNCT reports.
The district attorney says the charges were dismissed as requested by the victim.
‘This guy had PTSD. This happened two-and-a-half years ago, — the exact same scenario,’ De Mirza added. ‘From what I understand, he drank, and when he drank, he lost it.’
‘He was obviously very troubled, and there is nothing in my heart but forgiveness,’ she continued.
According to social media, Sarah had worked as a paramedic for Harnett County Emergency Services.
‘Sarah had an infectious smile and was a light everywhere she went. Please keep her daughters and family in your thoughts and prayers during this unimaginable time,’ the agency said in statement on social media.
Fort Bragg Sgt. Jeremy Glass said help is available for domestic violence victims.
‘Each patrol unit has a domestic violence liaison, we have a victim advocate which is a non sworn position that can help get people out of those types of situations,’ Glass said.
Not immediately clear is what treatment, if any, had been availed to the army sergeant and what precautions or censures Fort Bragg had decreed given the soldier’s troubled history.
The shooting remains under investigation.