Army indentifies soldier who died after suffering knife wounds
January 24, 2007
A 1st Personnel Command soldier who was killed Sunday in a barracks building in Schwetzingen, Germany, has been identified as Pfc. Valerie R. Gamboa, a 19-year-old from San Antonio, Texas.
Army officials have yet to release details of her death, which they have declined to categorize as a homicide.
Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for U.S. Army Europe, said Gamboa died after suffering knife wounds, but an autopsy must be performed before her death can be ruled a homicide.
“Determination of the exact cause of death is pending,” according to a statement from USAREUR.
Two other soldiers — one from the 1st Perscom and one from V Corps artillery — were injured in the incident, the release stated. The soldiers were transported to a local hospital. One was treated and released, while the other remains hospitalized, USAREUR said.
One soldier, whom the Army refused to identify, was apprehended in connection with the incident by the German police at 7 p.m. Sunday in downtown Schwetzingen. The soldier, who has not been charged with a crime, is in U.S. custody, the Army said.
The incident remains under investigation by U.S. law enforcement, according to the statement.
Gamboa worked in the 1st Perscom’s personnel, or S-1 division. She had spent a short time, perhaps two weeks, working in the casualty section, dealing with documents pertaining to soldiers killed while on duty.
It was a tryout period all soldiers who work in that section undergo. Soldiers working in the casualty section must be able to emotionally handle continuous reports of soldiers’ deaths, a staffer there said on Tuesday. Gamboa was soon moved to the S-1.
She is survived by her parents, Carolina Posada and Sergio Gamboa, also of San Antonio, according to the Army release. A memorial ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Patrick Henry Village chapel in Heidelberg.
While details of the soldier’s death have not been made public, the incident has been discussed quite openly at Tompkins Barracks in Schwetzingen, where it occurred.
“It’s pretty much the topic of the whole week,” said Donovan Houston, a supervisor at the post’s small convenience store.
Tompkins Barracks is small, with a population of roughly 200 soldiers, Houston said. Most of the soldiers there live in two barracks buildings, and most know each other, he said.
Houston said he had seen Gamboa in the store “quite often,” most of the time with her boyfriend, whom he doesn’t know by name.
Reporter Nancy Montgomery contributed to this report.