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Fort Drum Commander Pens Letter After Soldier Charged with Killing Two

U.S. Army soldier Justin Walters (New York State Police)
U.S. Army soldier Justin Walters (New York State Police)

FORT DRUM -- The commander of Fort Drum told soldiers and families on post there were services available to those affected by an "incredible tragedy" Sunday, in which a soldier allegedly killed his wife and a state trooper.

"Please reach out to your unit Chaplain, behavioral health specialist or chain of command if you need assistance," Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt wrote. "There is no shame in seeking help; please do not shoulder the weight of grief on your own."

Justin Walters, a staff sergeant on post, is accused of killing his wife Nichole and state police Trooper Joel Davis at the Walters' home on County Route 46, Theresa.

He also allegedly shot a third person, Rebecca Finkle, who received treatment for what were described as "non-life-threatening injuries."

He is charged with first- and second-degree murder.

Walters served as an infantryman with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and had spent his entire 10-year Army career at Fort Drum.

His career included two deployments to Afghanistan, post officials said.

The general also wrote that he suspected "there will be a lot of conversation in the media and in our homes about the circumstances surrounding this incredible tragedy."

Justin Walters' mother told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich., near his hometown of Zeeland, that her son was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress earlier this year and that he was seeking treatment. State police Superintendent George P. Beach II said on Monday he could not confirm Walters' mental health status.

Gen. Piatt's letter also said Army Criminal Investigation Command was helping local law enforcement with the case. His letter noted Mrs. Walters' status as a military spouse.

"Please join me in remembering a member of our Fort Drum Family and the New York State Trooper who sacrificed himself in an effort to come to her aid as we hold their loved ones in our thoughts and prayers," he wrote.

This article is written by Gordon Block from Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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