ABILENE, Texas — An airman from an Air Force base in Texas shot himself and died after a police officer shot him during an armed confrontation, police said.
Dyess Air Force Base later identified the airman as Staff Sgt. Ryan Lee Blair, 23.
Abilene police officers found Blair at a home on the city’s south side early Saturday after officials at nearby Dyess reported that he was harming himself, Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said at a morning news conference.
After officers knocked on the door, the airman came out of the house with a rifle and handgun, Standridge said. The airman repeatedly pointed the rifle at the officers, who’d formed a perimeter around the home, and was shot by a SWAT supervisor as he appeared to take aim at police. The airman then crawled into some bushes where he shot himself, the chief said. The airman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Standridge did not identify Blair by name at the news conference, who he said may have been motivated by the fallout from an October car crash. The airman had “despondency issues” because he was being investigated for drunk driving, the chief said.
Local station KTXS reported that the airman was Blair, and Dyess confirmed his identity.
The Air Force Personnel Center said Monday that Blair was with the 7th Component Maintenance Squadron at Dyess, and was serving as a 2A6X1 aerospace propulsion craftsman. He joined the Air Force in July 2014.
The Texas Rangers and the Air Force base’s special investigations unit are looking into the shooting. Police in Abilene, a city of some 123,000 people 180 miles west of Dallas, will also conduct a criminal and internal affairs investigation.
The SWAT officer has been placed on leave.