Bragg Soldier who Shot Cmdr. Dies

Col. Tisdale

The soldier who fatally shot his superior officer during a safety briefing on Fort Bragg and then turned the gun on himself has died.

Col. Kevin Arata, a Fort Bragg spokesman, identified the soldier as Spc. Ricky G. Elder, 27, of Hutchinson, Kan. Elder died Saturday at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, a nursing supervisor said.

Elder is accused of fatally shooting his battalion commander, Lt. Col. Roy L. Tisdale, during a safety briefing Thursday.

A third soldier, 22-year-old Spc. Michael E. Latham, was treated for minor wounds at Womack Army Medical Center and released.

All three soldiers are members of the 525th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

Elder recently had been charged with larceny of a $1,700 toolkit on Fort Bragg and was facing a court-martial, officials said.

He also had a pending court case in Kansas.

Elder was supposed to have been in a Reno County, Kan., court Friday, being sentenced for punching a woman in the face at a bar, his lawyer said Saturday.

Lawyer Les Hulnick of Wichita, Kan., said Elder accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aggravated battery. He was to be released on probation and ordered to pay restitution, Hulnick said.

Hulnick confirmed a story in the Hutchinson News that said Elder was accused of punching Deborah M. Keough-Douglas, 29, in the face on April 4, 2010, at the Grand Slam sports bar in Hutchinson. The newspaper reported that Keough-Douglas was left with $60,000 in medical bills.

Hulnick said Elder was originally charged with intentional and reckless aggravated battery.

He confirmed the newspaper's account that Elder in September 2010 pleaded innocent and waived his right to a speedy trial so he could deploy to Afghanistan. Elder pleaded guilty to the reckless aggravated battery charge in November.

Hulnick said he had no knowledge of the larceny charge at Fort Bragg and was shocked by the news of the shootings.

"All my dealings with (Elder) were extremely pleasant, and it's just a heartbreak," he said. "As far as I could see, he was just a hell of a good soldier, and he made a wrong move in a bar here."

The shootings at Fort Bragg happened in a field near the Bastogne Gables neighborhood while soldiers were being briefed on safety before heading out for a four-day holiday weekend.

Records from Fort Bragg show that Elder enlisted in the Army in 2004 -- the year he graduated from high school in Hutchinson -- and was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, Fort Richardson, Alaska. He also spent time with the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned to the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade in June 2010.

Elder deployed to Iraq from October 2006 to November 2007 and to Afghanistan from September 2010 to July 2011.

Tisdale, 42, of Alvin, Texas, was a highly decorated commander.

His awards and decorations include:

The Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Military Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Air Assault, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge and Senior Parachutist Badge.

Tisdale graduated from Texas A&M University in 1993 and was commissioned as an infantry officer. He joined the 525th in April 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in command of his battalion from July 2010 to March 2011.

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