Air Force investigators have concluded that a special forces veteran killed his commander and then himself after his military career had deteriorated in 2016.
After dropping out of an elite pararescue program, disgruntled Tech. Sgt. Steven Bellino approached Lt. Col. William Schroeder in April 2016. Bellino then fatally shot Schroeder with two pistols, abruptly forcing an end to a massive parade at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in the process, The Associated Press reports.
Bellino then killed himself.
Documents provided to the San Antonio Express-News indicate that Bellino failed the physical endurance swim portion of a pararescue program after joining on June 30, 2015, which led to massive resentment, given that he had already had a distinguished military career and served as an Army Ranger, Green Beret, CIA contractor and FBI special agent.
“I do not like this world, and I do not want to be a part of it any longer,” Bellino said later in August 2015. “I’ve searched for many years to find a home consistent with my ethics and such a place does not exist.”
Bellino’s career in the military also triggered post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, a condition that overwhelming leads to people hurting themselves and not others. Air Force investigators believe that during the time he wrote those statements, his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms grew much worse.
That same month, he left the base for 10 days after failing out of the pararescue program. He was later charged with being absent without leave. He was scheduled for a court-martial on April 27, but that date never came. A week prior to the shooting, Bellino agreed to a discharge instead, a common deal made with troops who disappear without permission.
But on April 8, he walked into squadron headquarters armed with two Glock pistols and tried to gun down the first sergeant. He missed. Schroeder then appeared and told the sergeant to run. Bellino then shot Schroeder fatally in the arms and head.
Bellino and Schroeder were both members of the special forces community.
Bellino never married and never had any kids.
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