A U.S. Army battalion commander was killed by a fellow soldier on Thursday in a shooting incident at Fort Bragg, N.C. The alleged gunman then shot himself and is in custody; a third soldier was slightly injured in the shooting.
An Army statement said the shooting victim belonged to the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. A battalion is a subordinate command within a brigade and is commanded by a lieutenant colonel. The battalion involved in today's shooting has not been identified.
A Defense official told ABC News that the shooting occurred this afternoon as the battalion was gathered for a safety briefing in advance of the upcoming July 4 weekend.
The safety briefings are usually held by commanders to reinforce good patterns of behavior during holiday periods.
The official says that at some point during the safety briefing an enlisted soldier broke out of formation and pulled a handgun to shoot the battalion commander. Another soldier was slightly injured during the shooting. The gunman then shot himself. He was taken into custody and is listed as being in serious condition.
This official says it is unclear if the handgun the enlisted soldier used in the shooting was a personal weapon or military issue. Army bases usually keep firearms under lock and key at armories unless units are scheduled to use weapons at firing ranges.
The official said the incident occurred two blocks from the Corps' headquarters. An Army statement said, "Fort Bragg law enforcement and emergency responders secured the scene within minutes at the corner of Letterman and Armistead Streets."
At a press briefing late this evening Col. Kevin Arata, a spokesman for the XVIII Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg, said, "This is a tragedy for our community. We don't yet know the reasons for the shooting, but are working with the unit and the affected families to help them through this difficult period." He added, ""Our prayers are with those who have been affected by this terrible incident."
Special Agents from the Army Criminal Investigation Command are investigating the shooting.
The media in Cd Juarez is reporting that authorities have confirmed alleged copkiller Gilberto Manuel Estupiñán Aguirre (left), age 20, is an active duty soldier in the U.S. Army.
The media In Ciudad Juarez and the state of Chihuahua are reporting that one of three "sicarios" arrested Wednesday after the armed robbery of a gasoline station in this border city is an active duty U.S. Army soldier.
According to authorities after their arrest the three men confessed to taking part in the murders of four Juarez police officers this year.
The men have been identified as Jesús Rubio González, age 24; Gilberto Manuel Estupiñán Aguirre, age 20; and César Benito Betancourt Griego, age 26.
Authorities claim that Gilberto Manuel Estupiñán identified himself as a soldier in the U.S. Army during his arrest and that his status was confirmed by police personnel.
The three men were in a blue Honda Accord at the time of their arrest and were in possession of a 9mm handgun and ammunition and a spare magazine for an AK-47 assault type weapon, in addition to a small amount of drugs and a bottle of Buchanon's whiskey.
The three men are alleged to have taken part in the murder of Juarez municipal police officers Joaquín Avendaño Pineda, Vidal Zatarain Valdez and Gabriel Avitia on the afternoon of September 7, 2011. The officers were intercepted by gunmen in two pickups while returning home at the end of their shift.
The three men are also alleged to have murdered municipal police officer Cordero Mireles, who was attacked and killed a day later on September 8, 2011.
At the time authorities had reported that evidence indicated the same group of gunmen were involved in both attacks.