Local News

Lejeune Marine linked to Texas shootings believed to have killed wife

Posted May 28, 2013

— A Camp Lejeune Marine suspected of shooting six people in Texas before being killed in a gunfight with authorities Sunday is also believed to have killed his 21-year-old wife in Jacksonville, N.C.

Authorities on Tuesday identified the woman as Rubi Estefania Smith, the wife of Esteban J. Smith, 23. Her body was found Sunday in a hotel room at the Sunset Inn on Western Boulevard, near the Marine base.

Her official cause of death has not yet been determined, but Jacksonville police investigators said she had a knife wound.

The case remains open, and investigators are asking anyone with information on her death to come forward.

“Because there are multiple agencies and crime scenes associated with the case, it will take several weeks for all of the physical evidence to be processed,” Jacksonville Public Safety Director Chief Mike Yaniero said in a statement.

He said Jacksonville authorities are working with law enforcement in Texas to share evidence and information.

"We're a military community, so a lot of times we have to do interviews across the globe because Marines are deployed," Yaneiro said.

Esteban Smith is believed to be responsible for shooting six people, one fatally, in a pre-dawn rampage across West Texas, Tom Vinger, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Three people were treated for their wounds in hospitals and discharged. Two others, including Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, remained hospitalized Monday with non-life-threatening wounds. Texas authorities said the gunman seemed to choose his targets at random.

Camp Lejeune spokesman Master Sgt. J.D. Cress said Tuesday that Smith was from Bakersfield, Calif., and joined the Marines in 2008. He arrived at camp Lejeune the following year and was deployed in 2010 and 2012.

Smith was a rifleman with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Cress said.

Donald Brimmer was working at Top of the line Barber Shop, next door to the Sunset Inn, when police found Rubi Smith on Sunday.

"When it happened there was only three cop cars that came. Then the next thing you know they had suited up and they had their shields," he said.

It was unclear when Rubi Smith was killed or the how the suspect may have traveled from North Carolina to Jacksonville, where authorities said the shooting rampage began about 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

The gunman shot a motorist in the Eden area of Concho County, about 40 miles southeast of San Angelo and 210 miles southwest of Dallas. She was hospitalized in San Angelo with non-life-threatening wounds, Vinger said.

Over the next 90 minutes, two more people were shot while sitting in a car at a convenience store in adjacent McCulloch County. Both were treated for their wounds and discharged from a hospital, Vinger said.

Shortly after 6 a.m., Alicia Torres, 41, was found dead in her car in Eola, just east of San Angelo, Vinger said.

The suspect fired on the vehicle of Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane when the sheriff came upon him north of Eden, according to DPS. Doane was wounded in the gunfire and hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds, Vinger said.

A state trooper and game warden came upon the scene and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was killed.

An assault rifle, handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were recovered from his vehicle, Vinger said.

Cress said the recovered weapons were not military service weapons.


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  • babbleon1 May 28, 2013

    My deepest sympathy to all involved.

  • usmcmomnc May 28, 2013

    How many of you have ever been to war at the ripe old age of 19? I think until you have been there, done that - you really need to not comment on how it can affect you! This group of Marines just got back from deployment a few short months ago...I know this because my son was one of them. This isn't about gun control or any other political issue. This is about kids going to war and coming home to issues they can't handle and there not being enough help/support there for them. This is a terrible tragedy that will affect many lives, plain and simple.

  • Relic May 28, 2013

    Way to disgrace your cohorts and all the US vets on Memorial Day.

    All the rest of you that want to bring politics into what's the result of any of us fragile human beings going to war if you never have. Please, stop it. This tragedy has nothing to do with killing enemy combatants with drones. During WWII there were thousands of German Americans that left the US and went to Germany to "fight for the Fatherland". Nobody said a word when many of these were used as infiltrators of US troops during the Battle of the Bulge and were summarily executed. Stay on topic.

  • Plenty Coups May 28, 2013

    rocket-"Why do you have to take every tragedy and make it political? "

    It is political already. Republicans have been very consistent in what they said we should do about gun violence instead of gun control.

    "Pretty shameful in my opinion."

    LOL. I guess you forgot your 9:45 AM post on the same subject that also was very political in nature.

    "Democrats at the federal level have abandoned this for now because they realize how unpopular it is with most Americans. Which is good because this debate belongs at the state level."

  • ss3510 May 28, 2013

    US Military is Out of Control. It was expected by all educated folks after the 9/11 Flag Waving.

    This is just one story. Suicides skyrocketing! Rape and Sexual Assault rampant!

    and.....the President killing Americans with Drones.

  • rocket May 28, 2013

    Why do you have to take every tragedy and make it political? Pretty shameful in my opinion.

  • Plenty Coups May 28, 2013

    Remember the republican talking points after the Sandy Hook shotings? Put armed guards in the schools and take care of mental health? That is what they said we should focus on rather than expanded background checks and assault weapon bans. Turns out they didn't mean it.

    But why do they not do what they say they should?

    Republican senate proposing cuts to mental health:

    State senate proposes cuts to mental health:

    NC General Assembly eliminates funding for armed security guards in schools :