Soldier who killed herself at Fort Lee had 15-month combat tour in Iraq

FORT LEE, Va. — The military identified the solider who shot and killed herself at Fort Lee Monday as Sgt. 1st Class Paula M. Walker. Walker was a sergeant first-class with 14 years of military experience. The human resources specialist had been stationed at Fort Lee since December 2011, Fort Lee spokesman Stephen Baker wrote in an email.

“Walker’s hometown of record is Yonkers, N.Y. She served on active duty for nearly 14 years after enlisting in September 2000,” Baker wrote. “Prior to Fort Lee, Walker served at Fort Devens, Mass., starting in 2010 and Fort Eustis starting in 2006, among other installations. Her career included a 15-month combat tour in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008. Her awards and decorations included three Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, one Joint Meritorious Unit Award and four Army Good Conduct Medals.”

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the incident.

Walker shot herself in the head after she barricaded herself in an office at Fort Lee Monday morning. She was rushed to VCU Medical Center where she later died.

“She was irate, started to throw things,” two-star General Stephen Lyons said after the shooting. Negotiators attempted to talk Walker out of the room, but she did not listen, he said.

Fort Lee was placed on lock down during the negotiations. The post was locked down for about an hour. Visitors at nearby Petersburg National Battlefield were told to shelter at the visitor center or get in their cars and leave.

The gun Walker used in the suicide was not her service weapon.

This is a developing story.

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