‘Devil’ brigade soldier arrested months before death

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Updated Friday, 11:01 a.m.

A 1st Infantry Division soldier who was found dead in his Junction City home Monday was arrested by Riley County police on April 19 after a warrant was issued by Fort Riley.

Swift

Staff Sgt. Garett Swift, a fire support specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, was found deceased in his home by the Junction City Police Department. The JCPD and Fort Riley Criminal Investigation Command are investigating Swift’s death.

Swift had gone missing several days in April before his arrest. The RCPD told KMAN Friday morning its records show he was arrested for desertion under the direction of the Fort Riley warrant.

Swift, 37, is the fifth Fort Riley solider to die since the end of July.

On Aug. 3 KMAN reported 30-year Alejandro Jonathan Franquiz was found deceased inside a vehicle parked on Interstate 70. An autopsy found his death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On Aug. 8, 23-year-old Peter James Robbins was shot and killed by JCPD officers after refusing their commands to drop two handguns he possessed outside the Walmart Neighborhood Market. On Aug. 16, 22-year-old Richard Cox died in Topeka of a gunshot wound on post. And finally, on Aug. 19, 19-year-old John Martinez was found unresponsive in his barracks room and was quickly transported to Irwin Army Community Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

“The soldiers of the 1st Bn., 5th FA Regt., mourn the loss of Staff Sgt. Swift,”  said Swift’s commander, Lt. Col. Richard J. Ikena Jr., in a press release from Fort Riley Thursday. “The battalion will continue to fully support Staff Sgt. Swift’s family and teammates through these challenging times.”

Swift joined the Army in October 2006 and arrived at Fort Riley in November 2013.

Swift’s home of record is Charlotte, Michigan. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Unit Award, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal.

Swift deployed to South Korea in 2007, Afghanistan in 2009, Germany in 2010 and again to Afghanistan in 2011.

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Brady Bauman

Reporter/anchor covering local, state and breaking news. Former newspaper writer, news and sports. California born, Kansas raised.

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