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Father confirms daughter’s death in Offutt Air Force Base shooting

Kari Firlik, shown here in this undated photo from social media, and her husband Tech. Sgt. Zachary Firlik were found dead Saturday night after a shooting in military housing near Offutt Air Force Base. The couple’s three children were unharmed in the incident, which is still under investigation.

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By ROSE L. THAYER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 2, 2019

A 17-year veteran of the Air Force and his wife were found dead Saturday night after a shooting in military housing near Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, service officials confirmed.

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Firlik was identified Monday by base officials as the airman found dead. On Wednesday, his wife, Kari Firlik, was confirmed dead by her father, Jerry McManigal, who spoke to Stars and Stripes.

Air Force Col. Gavin Marks told the Omaha World-Herald that the shooting occurred at about 8:30 p.m. in the Rising View community in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue, just west of the base, The Associated Press reported.

Base officials also did not provide details about the deaths. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations detachment at Offutt is leading the investigation, though personnel from Sarpy County also responded to the incident.

Firlik was an assistant flight chief assigned to the 55th Security Forces Squadron since April 25. He joined the Air Force on June 26, 2002, according to officials at Offutt. His awards and decorations included two Air Force Commendation medals and one Air Force Achievement Medal, according to his service record.

The couple were married for seven years, living first in Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, then Travis Air Force Base in California. Since March, they had been near Kari Firlik’s family in Nebraska.

Kari Firlik worked in her father’s dental office as an insurance coordinator and was working on a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, McManigal said.

The couple’s children, ages 17, 12 and 5, “are safe and in good hands surrounded by loving family,” he said. A GoFundMe was established to assist the children with educational and other expenses.

Offutt is home to U.S. Strategic Command and is about 10 miles south of Omaha. It has about 6,500 airmen and the 55th Wing is the Air Force’s only unit to fly the RC-135, a fixed-wing reconnaissance aircraft.

thayer.rose@stripes.com
Twitter: @Rose_Lori

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