DAYTON, Ohio — An Iraq war veteran wearing military fatigues stood in predawn quiet yesterday at a monument to soldiers and fatally shot himself with an assault rifle outside the Veterans Affairs medical center where he had been a patient, authorities said.
Police said Jesse C. Huff, 27, fired a second round into his head after he survived a first shot. Authorities said he appeared to have no intention of harming anyone else, although police searched a military-type backpack near the body and also Huff’s van.
The police bomb squad detonated the backpack as a precaution.
Police Sergeant Dan Mauch said police had no idea about a possible motive.
He said Huff’s relatives in the Dayton area had been notified, but he wouldn’t release their names.
Officials at the VA center indicated that Huff hadn’t been considered at high risk for a suicide attempt or had ever made alarming statements.
Bill Wall, a VA clinical social worker who leads programs at the center for Iraq-Afghanistan veterans, said the Army veteran had been injured by an explosive device in Iraq.
Huff entered the Army April 15, 2003, as an infantryman and was promoted to the rank of specialist in 2005 before being discharged on June 15, 2007, said Army spokesman Wayne Hall.
Hospital officials said they couldn’t release other information about Huff’s condition or visits to the center, but spokeswoman Donna Simmons said he was seen about 1 a.m. yesterday, nearly five hours before the shooting.