Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) responded Tuesday after the news broke that a Texas National Guard soldier — serving as part of the state’s southern border initiative Operation Lone Star — had died by suspected suicide.
According to reports from The Army Times and The Texas Tribune, the soldier died at 8:20 Tuesday morning after shooting himself with an M4-Carbine, his assigned duty weapon. His name has not yet been released to the public.
Abbott shared a statement confirming that the soldier had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and offering his condolences, saying, “We ask all Texans to join us in praying for the soldier’s family during this heartbreaking time.”
.@TexasFLCA and I are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of a soldier with the Texas National Guard.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) October 4, 2022
“Cecilia and I are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of a soldier with the Texas National Guard. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the soldier. Texas Rangers are leading the investigation, as the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety coordinate with local law enforcement,” the statement began.
Abbott went on to encourage any others who might be struggling to reach out and ask for help.
“And for any Texan who is in crisis, we urge you to seek help immediately from a family member, loved one, or a mental health service,” the governor added.
According to the Tribune’s report, if this latest death were officially ruled a suicide, it would be the first to be linked to Operation Lone Star since December. The joint border-security mission – which has Texas Department of Public Safety officials working alongside the National Guard — became the subject of an Army Times investigation when four soldiers died by suicide within eight weeks after the initiative was expanded in September of 2021.
In the months that followed, five more service members connected to the mission died —two were killed in accidental shootings, one drowned attempting to rescue two struggling migrants, one died of a blood clot, and one died in a motorcycle accident — making a total of nine until Tuesday morning’s reported suicide brought the number up to ten.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.