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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

AFL soldier in fatal shooting

Leaves colleague wounded after girlfriend breakup

A soldier of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Sergeant Prince Tucker has reportedly shot himself to death after allegedly wounding a junior AFL Officer with gunshot Monday night, 6 June 2022.

The incident reportedly occurred at the AFL’s Star Base on Bushrod Island where both the deceased and the injured officer were assigned.

Residents from Star Base and its surrounding areas have told our reporter that the incident occurred when the wounded officer attempted taking possession of Officer Tucker’s assigned weapon upon noticing that the deceased was acting strangely.

Sympathizers gathered at the scene of the incident

The residents claimed that Officer Tucker had planned to take his own life out of frustration because his fiancée, only identified as Rose, had left him following a quarrel.

Rose, according to the locals’ account, packed her belongings and took along with her the children she had by Officer Tucker.

The eyewitnesses say Rose had allegedly accused the deceased of squandering and spoiling money intended for the family.

But the eyewitnesses said the deceased had told Rose that he did not squander the money rather, explaining that he used it to buy a flash screen TV, a freezer and other appliances for the home.

The deceased reportedly intended using the electronics to help generate additional funds and to also keep their children far from other people’s dwelling place.

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The deceased and his fiancée reportedly had two children, a boy and a girl. Rose allegedly took all of them along because their school had closed at the time of the dispute.

The eyewitnesses explained that Rose rejected her boyfriend’s account, telling Tucker that she would return home if he paid her bride price and married her.

“My brother, the woman and that man had palaver and she left the house. If we are not mistaken, today is exactly three or four months now,” one eyewitness who did not want to be named, said.

“She told her husband that she can only come back to the house if he married her and that is the frustration that was in him, we believe so,” she added. “He did not tell anybody, but we know,” the woman noted.

According to residents of the Star Base, Sergeant Tucker was a very professional, intelligent, quiet and friendly soldier. They said he used to joke and respect everybody, regardless of their age or status in society.

Some women who live with their spouses at Star Base said prior to the incident on Monday, Sergeant Tucker had allegedly been talking about killing himself.

Other residents who live outside Star Base have also narrated that Tucker was seen drinking alcohol excessively and asking them if they had ever seen somebody shoot themselves in the head.

“Tucker had on [a] Yellow T- shirt, but during the day he changed his clothes almost three times, and at night he had on black and white,” another eyewitness explained.

“He was on duty and later he was not looking good with the gun in his hand, so his friend went to take the gun from him. But when the guy asked him for it, he refused,” the eyewitness added.

While in the process, the eyewitness noted, Tucker’s colleague wanted to take the weapon forcefully, and in return, the deceased allegedly shot his friend.

Upon shooting and wounding his colleague, the witness said Tucker also allegedly pointed the gun under his own cheek and shot himself too.

The shooting allegedly left Tucker’s head scattered, according to the eyewitness.

According to the resident, they heard the gun sound three times when the heavy rain was falling Monday night.

The witness said when they went out, they discovered that Tucker had shot himself to death and wounded his junior colleague.

Following the incident, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia Maj. Gen. Prince C. Johnson, III, along with other senior AFL Soldiers, drove in the fence at Star Base and inspected the body.

They took the corpse to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital for medical pronouncement.

The body was placed in a grey Toyota Pickup and escorted by soldiers at about 8:45-9 am. 

Later, one of the soldiers went out to talk to the family including the mother of the deceased, his girlfriend Rose and several other relatives.

The soldiers expressed their regret over the incident, saying they were hurt more than any other person. 

The family of the deceased refused to talk to journalists on grounds that they did not know anything about what had happened.

For her part, Rose, who is said to be Tucker’s fiancée, said she never told the deceased that she did not want him anymore.

She said both had been having telephone conversations, adding that she just couldn’t believe that her boyfriend and children’s father had done what he did because of frustration.

Later on Tuesday, 7 June 2022, the Ministry of Defense and the Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Liberia ordered a lock down of the military duty station at the Star Base, Bushrod Island.

According to a release issued, the order came after a fatal shooting at about 2030hrs on June 6, 2022, involving one of its personnel.

“This sad incident resulted in the death of a soldier and severe injury to another who is undergoing medical treatment and care at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center,” the release said.

The Defense Authorities said motive behind the shooting is yet to be established. Notwithstanding, they noted that the Provosts Marshall and the Military Police are currently involved with the investigation to establish the motive behind the shooting.

The release added that the Liberia National Police is also involved in aiding the investigation.

“The Ministry of National Defense and the AFL are assuring the public that all is under control and a preliminary report will be provided as soon as possible,” the release stated.

It noted that the Ministry of Defense and the Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Liberia acknowledge that protecting military installations, and the people who work and live there from such incidents is a major undertaking. 

“Finally, identifying security solutions and gaps on our installations where we served has always been a priority and all recommendations coming from the investigation will be taken seriously.”

It said the families of the victims have been contacted and all necessary assistance or support for them has been considered.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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