Ohio Guard unit mourns couple fatally shot in Fort Knox base housing
By VANESSA MCCRAY | The (Toledo, Ohio) Blade | Published: February 27, 2013
FORT KNOX, Ky. — A close-knit Ohio Air National Guard Unit is mourning the loss this week of one of its staff sergeants, a former Whitehouse resident they described as outgoing and hard-working.
Krista Meeks-Jones, 23, died Friday along with her soldier husband in a shooting in Fort Knox, Ky.
Several who knew her remembered her work ethic and praised the staff sergeant’s commitment to the 180th Fighter Wing near Swanton, where she returned to train about four times a year.
“She was very enthusiastic, very go-getting, very hard-working. She had a very strong sense of duty,” said Master Sgt. Jennifer Ferrari, her supervisor for the last two years. “We are very close-knit out here. This has had an effect on all of us.
“We are here to support her family.”
Master Sergeant Ferrari said officials plan to award Ms. Meeks-Jones a posthumous Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service, presenting it to her family at a later date.
Ms. Meeks-Jones and her husband, Army Spc. Christopher Meeks-Jones, 26, died Friday at their on-post Fort Knox residence.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command is investigating the incident, which authorities said appears to have been a domestic dispute.
Military police responded about 3:40 a.m. Friday after a 911 call from the home. When officers arrived, they heard gunfire from inside.
Police found Specialist Meeks-Jones dead; they administered first aid to Sergeant Meeks-Jones, but she died at the scene. Both had gunshot wounds.
Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, would not identify a shooter or provide additional details about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.
The couple’s two young children were home when the shooting occurred but were not injured. They were placed in the custody of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services, according to the Fort Knox public affairs office.
A Fort Knox news release issued Saturday said the children were in foster care “pending permanent placement.”
A spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers the community services department, would not comment Tuesday on the children’s status or give their ages.
Those who knew Ms. Meeks-Jones remembered her as kind and professional.
Maj. Gary Bentley, executive officer with the 180th Fighter Wing, recalled her as an outgoing, pleasant individual who smiled often and performed her military duties well.
She joined the guard in 2007, graduated from Anthony Wayne High School in 2008, and went through basic training in late summer of 2008, according to school and guard officials.
She married Specialist Meeks-Jones in March, 2009, Lucas County records show.
Fort Knox spokesman Ryan Brus said Specialist Meeks-Jones listed his home-of-record as Maumee. In 2004, he earned his GED in Virginia and enlisted in the Army in November, 2010.
He went to Fort Jackson, S.C., to receive military occupational specialty training, and had been assigned to Fort Knox, his first duty station, since March, 2011, Mr. Brus said. A human resources specialist, he served with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Ellen Lang-Hill said Sergeant Meeks-Jones was her biological granddaughter who was adopted by a family when she was young.
“She was a beautiful girl, very loving, very caring,” said Mrs. Lang-Hill of Toledo, who said she last saw her roughly five years ago. “She was well-liked and loved.”