New Year’s Day Shooting Death of Army Drill Sergeant Is Under Investigation

January 5, 2021Joshua Skovlund
Staff Sgt. Jessica Mitchell drill sergeant

Photo courtesy of the US Army.

A US Army drill sergeant was found in cardiac arrest from multiple gunshot wounds, inside her vehicle on eastbound Interstate 10 near West Avenue in San Antonio, Texas, on Friday, according to a Joint Base San Antonio press release and a San Antonio Police Department press release.  

The drill sergeant was identified as Staff Sgt. Jessica Mitchell, a dental specialist who was assigned to the US Army Medical Center of Excellence as a drill sergeant. Mitchell was previously assigned to a JBSA dental clinic from October 2017 until her transfer to the MEDCoE in August 2019.

“We are devastated by the tragic loss of Drill Sergeant Jessica Mitchell. Our sincere condolences go out to her family and friends,” Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, the MEDCoE commanding general, said. “We are focused on supporting Drill Sergeant Mitchell’s family as well as her soldiers during this extremely difficult time.”

San Antonio Police Department officers located Mitchell in a white Dodge vehicle that was stopped in the fast lane causing a traffic hazard, according to an SAPD press release. When officers approached, they found that the driver’s-side door and window had been struck multiple times with gunfire. They opened the door to find Mitchell with multiple gunshot wounds, and they could not detect a pulse. 

Mitchell was transported by emergency medical services to the University Hospital in San Antonio where she was pronounced dead by hospital staff. 

The investigation into what led up to the shooting is active and being conducted by SAPD, the FBI, and the US Army Criminal Investigation Division, according to the SAPD press release. 

Rob Strain, the chief of public affairs for the 502nd Air Base Wing, responded to requests for further information about possible motives by saying, “We aren’t going to speculate on any motives.”

“Why would anybody want to do this,” Ashely Mitchell, Jessica’s sister, said to Fox 29. “Why why why why? Why? Why do people do such heinous acts of crime for no reason? You know, like, human life is not material, it cannot be replaced.”

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

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