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Army special operations medic and pregnant wife die in apparent murder-suicide

"It's a complete shock... It's like a horror movie."
Haley Britzky Avatar

An Army special operations combat medic and his pregnant wife died over the weekend in an apparent murder-suicide after a domestic dispute, officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Keith Lewis, 31, died on Dec. 20 from “a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a domestic altercation” at his home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) said in a press release. The altercation also resulted in the death of his 34-year-old, pregnant wife, Sarah.

Lewis was a special operations combat medic assigned to the 98th Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, 1st Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg.

Staff Sgt. Keith Lewis. (U.S. Army)

“We are profoundly saddened at the tragic passing of Staff Sgt. and Mrs. Lewis,” Lt. Col. Mark Finnegan, commander of the 98th Civilian Affairs Battalion, said in the press release. “Our soldiers and families are the bedrock of our unit and any loss deeply affects our formations.”

Lewis enlisted in the Army in Sept. 2007, and in 2012 he “voluntarily re-classified as a Special Operations Combat Medic,” Tuesday’s press release says. He deployed once in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009-2010.

According to a press release from the Fayetteville Police Department, officers responded to reports of a shooting on Sunday evening and found that Sarah Lewis had been shot “multiple times.”

One woman, Emilia River, told local NBC affiliate station, WRAL that she and her boyfriend heard the gunshots from across the street.

“Immediately he was like, ‘You know someone just died. You don’t shoot that many gunshots and not try to kill somebody,'” River told WRAL.

Sarah was taken to the hospital where she and her unborn child later died, the press release said.

Keith Lewis appeared “to have succumbed to injuries sustained from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” A child was in the home at the time of the shooting. Although the Fayetteville police did not identify the child in their press release, the 1st Special Forces Command said that the Lewis’ three-year-old daughter “is now in the care of local family members.”

In Oct. 2016, Keith Lewis was arrested and charged with assault on a female and assault by pointing a gun, Sgt. Jeremy Glass, a Fayetteville Police Department spokesman, told Task & Purpose.

“Keith Lewis used his hands to push her against the wall causing her to hit her head,” Glass said. “He then pointed a handgun at her.”

Sarah’s family told WRAL that she was due to have her fourth child on Christmas, who she planned to name Isabella.

Sarah’s aunt, Tammy De Mirza, said she “had a smile that would light up the room.” She also said that Keith was taking medication for post-traumatic stress disorder and “would turn violent when he consumed alcohol,” according to WRAL.

In the incident years ago, which De Mirza described as the “exact same scenario,” Sarah “was fortunate enough to get away, to go somewhere and call the police and get some help.”

“It’s a complete shock,” De Mirza said of Sarah and Keith’s death. “It’s like a horror movie.”

Update: This post has been updated to include more information about Staff Sgt. Keith Lewis’ 2016 arrest.

Feature Image: A police car with its strobe lights on. (Photo by WCN 24/7 via Flickr Creative Commons.)