Two soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, were arrested Wednesday in connection with the murder of a former soldier on April 25.
The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office arrested Raylin D. James and Joshua Q. Gerald, both 20-year-old privates, as suspects in the murder of Leroy Scott, also 20, who was found dead in a local creek. Law enforcement said the two soldiers were arrested without incident in Pierce County, 50 miles south of Seattle.
Scott was previously a soldier assigned to 555th Engineer Brigade on JBLM, but he separated from the Army in December 2019, according to I Corps spokesperson Lt. Col. Neil Penttila. James and Gerald were still assigned to the 555th Engineer Brigade at the time of their arrests.
“The victim and suspects were connected to Kittitas County through some mutual friends and were said to have been attending a party in Ellensburg on the night of the murder," Sheriff Clay Myers said in a statement. "The investigation is ongoing.”
County records show both men are being held under the offense of first degree murder. They are in the custody of the Kittitas County Corrections Center. The two soldiers could not be reached for comment, and attorneys were not listed for them.
In a response to Army Times, Myers declined to detail what made James and Gerald suspects in the case.
Gerald entered the Army in June 2018 and arrived at JBLM the following December. He served as an automotive logistics specialist. James entered the Army in May 2018 and arrived at JBLM in September of that year. He served as a horizontal construction engineer.
The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said that Scott was originally from Louisiana.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.