Fort Lewis soldier shot on U.S. base, say parents

The parents of a Fort Lewis soldier killed in Iraq earlier this month say someone shot their daughter on an American military base near Kirkush.

Staff Sgt. Amy Tirador of Colonie, N.Y., died Nov. 4 in what the military called a noncombat incident. Her mother told The News Tribune on Tuesday that her 29-year-old daughter was shot execution-style, in the back of the head.

The military is investigating, a process that could take two or three months. Until then, officials are releasing few details.

“It was not a suicide,” said her mother, Colleen Murphy. “And it was not an accident. There are so many scenarios about what could have happened, and that’s why everyone is being so closed-mouthed about it.”

Tirador served as an Arabic-speaking interrogator in Diyala province with the 209th Military Intelligence Company, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. A spokesman for the American military unit overseeing operations throughout northern Iraq said investigators are still determining whether Tirador’s death was accidental, a suicide or a homicide.

“Here at Task Force Marne we will do our best to keep Staff Sgt. Tirador’s family informed as the investigation progresses,” Maj. Jeff Allen wrote in an e-mail. “There are no further details we can add right now.”

A 3rd Brigade spokesperson did not respond to an e-mail requesting more information.

Murphy also has enlisted the support of the offices of Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats.

“They’re behind us 100 percent,” Murphy said. “We’ll find the person or persons that did this, and we’ll find out the complete truth.”

Tirador’s father, Gerard Seyboth, could not be reached by The News Tribune. But he told WRGB-TV in Albany, N.Y., that his daughter’s work as an interrogator made her a “high-profile target.”

The soldier’s grandfather delivered a strong rebuke to the alleged gunman during Tirador’s funeral Nov. 17.

“Whoever did this crime, I hope they rot in hell,” Thomas Murphy said, according to the Albany Times-Union.

Tirador enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1999 and transferred to active duty in 2001. She deployed to Turkey in 2003 and to Iraq in 2004. She returned to Iraq in August with the 3rd Brigade.

She entered the military as a combat medic but began training to be a military intelligence collector in 2005. She arrived at Fort Lewis in January 2008.

Her husband, Mickey Tirador, was in Iraq on his third tour of duty when his wife was killed. The couple were married for three years and planned to start a family next year, according to the Times-Union

Her mother told the newspaper Tirador was “a female soldier in a man’s world” who tried to defy the stereotypes of women in the armed forces.

Tirador was the sixth woman from Fort Lewis to die in either Iraq or Afghanistan since the wars began, and the first since September 2006.

Scott Fontaine: 253-320-4758