A soldier stationed at Fort Bragg was shot to death Wednesday near the North Carolina army base, officials said.
Staff Sergeant Jimmy Smith, 24, was found dead from a gunshot wound just after 10:30 p.m. in Raeford, a North Carolina city about 20 miles away from Fort Bragg, military officials said.
Smith’s death appears to be connected to a Wednesday domestic-related shooting in nearby Harnett County involving two other Fort Bragg soldiers, investigative sources told WRAL.
In the first shouting, Brandon A. Amos-Dixon, was arrested for allegedly shooting at his fiancé, also a soldier, and her child in a car.
A third Fort Bragg soldier was said to be involved in the incident but was not named by authorities.
Smith’s murder is still under investigation. The Hoke County Sheriff’s Department could not be reached Friday.
Smith was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne division at Fort Bragg.
“Jimmy was a culinary specialist assigned to Group Support Battalion and was highly respected by his peers, subordinates, and leaders alike,” Smith’s unit said.
Smith was a decorated soldier, having earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Badge and other awards, according to the Army Times.
He joined the Army in 2016 and served in South Korea. He was also deployed to Jordan in 2020 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve before arriving in Fort Bragg in March 2020.
“Jimmy was more than just an NCO, he was a mentor, a shoulder to cry on, a comedian at times, but most of all a great friend,” Spc. Roenice Todd, a fellow soldier in the battalion, said in a statement. “It was truly an honor to be able to learn from him.”
Smith’s death is the latest in a tumultuous streak for Fort Bragg. At least 13 members at the base are investigated for alleged criminal drug activity, the Army Times noted.
Last year, seven soldiers who were the last to see a Fort Bragg paratrooper on a camping trip were arrested after the 21-year-old’s severed head washed ashore.