A Fort Bragg soldier fatally shot his pregnant wife during a domestic dispute on Sunday before turning the gun on himself in front of their 3-year-old daughter, authorities said.
The Fayetteville Police Department told The Daily Beast that Staff Sgt. Keith Lewis, a 31-year-old member of the Army Special Operations Command stationed at Fort Bragg, fatally shot his 34-year-old wife, Sarah Lewis, on Sunday night. The mother-of-four was set to give birth to her fourth child on Christmas Day.
Lewis later died at a local hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The couple’s 3-year-old, who witnessed the tragic murder-suicide, was unharmed but the unborn child, whom family said was set to be named Isabella, died.
“It's a complete shock. It's like a horror movie,” Tammy De Mirza, Sarah Lewis' aunt, told WRAL. “She had a smile that would light up the room, I can't explain it. She was vivacious and fun and lighthearted and easygoing and really head and heart to be of service.”
De Mirza added that the 34-year-old was in the military until she gave birth to her first child and had since become a paramedic. Keith Lewis, the aunt added, was Sarah’s second husband and had previously threatened her life multiple times. Police confirmed to The Daily Beast that officers responded to a 2016 domestic dispute call involving Keith but he was never charged.
Court records in Cumberland County indicate Keith Lewis faced a misdemeanor charge in 2016 of assault by pointing a gun charge—and his wife was listed as the victim. The charges were dismissed as requested by the victim.
“He was obviously very troubled, and there is nothing in my heart but forgiveness,” De Mirza said.
At around 7 p.m. on Sunday, officers responded to reports of a shooting at the couple’s Fayetteville home. Emilia River, a neighbor, told WRAL she and her boyfriend heard gunshots from the Lewis’ house across the street.
"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,'" River said.
When police arrived, they found Sarah Lewis with multiple gunshot wounds.
The couple’s three-year-old daughter is now staying with other family members. It wasn’t immediately clear where the other children were staying.
“Sarah, my precious niece, I love you so much and I saw the beauty in you!!! You were more than you knew, and your murder last night, will not diminish my love for you, nor identify you as a victim in my eyes,” De Mirza wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. “I saw your shining light your entire life, I was at the beginning of it.”
The tragic death comes amid an extraordinarily grim year for Fort Bragg, the North Carolina military base with about 54,000 military personnel and 14,000 civilian employees. According to Stars & Stripes, more than 30 soldiers working at Fort Bragg have died this year. Of those deaths, half have been ruled suicides.
Earlier this month, the Army launched an investigation into the deaths of a Green Beret and an Army vet whose bodies were found in a remote training area at the military base. Authorities have so far been tightlipped about the causes of death, only saying that it was not connected to any official training.
In May, a paratrooper from Fort Bragg who went missing after camping with friends from the base was found decapitated. Spc. Enrique Roman-Martinez’s partial remains were discovered on Shackleford Banks Island. An autopsy report relied solely on the 21-year-old’s decapitated head. The case was ruled a homicide and the Army is offering a $25,000 reward for information.
But grisly crimes weren’t the only scandals for Fort Bragg this year. In October, a public-affairs officer seemingly forgot he was logged into the base’s Twitter account when he began responding to sex-worker tweets—including one defending an OnlyFans user’s pubic hair. While the base initially claimed they had been “hacked,” an investigation eventually led to a confession.