Tiara Vinson, a soldier stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is being held at Cumberland County Jail accused of murdering fellow soldier, Kelia Horton. Vinson has been charged with first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. At present, it is not known how she has entered a plea or retained a lawyer, but she is reportedly being held without bond. The violence also comes after a series of unfortunate and mysterious attacks at multiple U.S. army bases over the course of the past year.
According to police, the shooting occurred outside a home in Fayetteville, NC around 1:30 p.m. on May 7. "The suspect drove up to the residence where the victim was in her car in the driveway and the suspect began shooting," Fayetteville Police Department Sgt. Jeremy Glass told People. "There were a couple of witnesses that saw it and called it in." Horton was still alive when law enforcement arrived on the scene but died later at a nearby hospital.
Horton and Vinson worked in different areas on the base, both in active duty, but Horton was a motorpool clerk assigned to the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade and Vinson is a parachute rigger assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group. However, Glass says the shooting wasn't a random incident: "They had a mutual male friend in common," he explained. "It wasn't an unknown person just going out and shooting another unknown person."
Although they have not completely disclosed motive, Vinson reportedly had a former romantic relationship with a man who was in a relationship with Horton at the time of her death. The shooting took place outside of the man's home. "A verbal altercation took place between the two of them, and our allegation is that the defendant, at that point, began firing into the car," Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West told local NBC affiliate station, WRAL. Refinery29 reached out to local law enforcement as well as the Fort Bragg station, but they had not responded at the time of publishing.
Horton's death is one in a series of unrelated deaths on military bases in the last year. The body of Vanessa Guillén was discovered in July after she went missing from Fort Hood in Texas in April 2020. In August of last year, Sgt. Elder Fernandes was found hanging from a tree 25 miles from Fort Hood after he disappeared from the base one week earlier. In fact, Rolling Stone reported unsettling rates of homicides and suicides at both Fort Bragg and Fort Hood. In 2020 alone, there were at least 44 homicides and suicides at Fort Bragg. Twenty-eight occurred at Fort Hood, sparking a congressional investigation.
Horton's cousin, Jadiah Farris, said that the mother of two was "the sweetest" person, and will be deeply missed. "She would give you the shirt off of her back," she told WRAL. "There was nothing bad you can say about Kelia."