The shooter in an apparent murder-suicide at a Texas Air Force base Friday was an enlisted airman who served a brief stint as an FBI agent before entering the service to become an elite pararescueman, U.S. officials said.
Tech. Sgt. Steven D. Bellino, 41, killed another airman at the Medina Training Annex of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland before turning the gun on himself, the officials said. He joined the Air Force in June 2015 and was a student with the 342nd Training Squadron, which provides training and screening in pararescue, combat control, explosive ordnance disposal and other skills used by elite units in Air Force Special Operations Command.
Air Force officials declined to identify Bellino as the shooter Saturday morning, but they released unclassified details about his brief service record when requested. U.S. officials said he had previously worked for less than two years in the FBI, partly in the New York field office. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
Bellino faced a disciplinary hearing when the shooting occurred, U.S. officials said. Air Force officials have declined to release the name of the victim in the murder-suicide, but the independent Air Force Times reported Friday that he was the commanding officer of a training squadron.
It was not immediately clear how Bellino obtained the rank of technical sergeant, a mid-ranking enlisted airman, after serving in the Air Force for less than a year. But the Air Force does have a program that allows veterans with previous military experience to join the service full time to take specific jobs that are hard to fill, including pararescueman.
The shooting occurred about 8:40 a.m. in a first-floor office at Forbes Hall, a large building that includes classrooms and a theater, Air Force officials said Friday. It is used regularly by airmen in training for Special Operations. Two Glock handguns were found at the scene.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is examining what happened with assistance from the FBI. Service officials have characterized the incident as workplace violence and said there is no indication terrorism was involved.
Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.
Adam Goldman reports on terrorism and national security for The Washington Post.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Dan Lamothe, Adam Goldman · NATIONAL · Apr 09, 2016 - 12:44 PM
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