LEBANON, Mo. (TCD) -- Two soldiers — including one who just got married — were arrested over the weekend for allegedly breaking into two homes with another soldier who was fatally shot by a juvenile.
According to the Lebanon Police Department, on Dec. 3 at approximately 10:30 p.m., officers responded to a call in the 400 block of North Monroe Street regarding a man on the ground. When they arrived, they attempted lifesaving measures, but the victim had suffered an apparently fatal gunshot wound. He was identified as 23-year-old Ethan Williams.
During their investigation, Lebanon Police learned Williams, 18-year-old Zachary Gillis, and 20-year-old Blake Paulson allegedly committed an armed robbery in Lebanon when Williams was killed. The juvenile accused of shooting him is reportedly in custody at the Camden County Juvenile Justice Center.
According to KOZL-TV, the U.S. Army confirmed three men involved in the alleged crime were stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. KSN-TV reports the public affairs office at Fort Leonard Wood wrote in a statement, "We are aware of the incident that occurred in Lebanon, Missouri on Dec. 3 involving three Soldiers who are stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and those affected during this difficult time."
According to a probable cause statement cited by KOZL, Paulson got married Dec. 3 at about 6 p.m. Williams allegedly called Paulson and Gillis and asked if they wanted to rob some houses. The three men reportedly wanted to rob the house of a person who could supply goods for them to sell before heading to a second home to rob. The men reportedly kicked down the door of the first residence and stole an Xbox.
The three soldiers reportedly made their way to the second house and were armed with a .45, AR-15, and Draco gun, KOZL reports. They reportedly stole some marijuana, and the juvenile began shooting at them with a pistol as the three men left.
KOZL, citing the court documents, reports a man recorded a video of a car pulling into the Monroe Street driveway. Gillis and Paulson allegedly pulled Williams' body out of the trunk, placed his body on the ground, and drove off. Gillis and Paulson reportedly separated because Paulson allegedly wanted to put a duffle bag used in the crime in someone else’s car in Rolla. The two men reunited in Crocker and later turned themselves in to their Army superior. Investigators reportedly found zip ties and guns in the bag that was placed in the car in Rolla.
According to Lebanon Police, the two men were charged with second-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and stealing. They are being held in the Laclede County Jail without bond. Lebanon Police said the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command is also assisting in the investigation.