Airmen killed in shooting at Grand Forks AFB identified

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 12:08 PM CDT
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The family of one of the airmen who died Monday in Grand Forks says she was the victim of domestic violence.

Natasha Raye Aposhian, 21, of Arizona was identified by her parents in a statement released to Valley News Live as the person killed in a deadly shooting at Grand Forks Air Force Base.

“Natasha had recently joined the Air Force and was just starting to embark on a career serving her country. It’s a tragedy she won’t get to fulfill her hopes and dreams,” the family said.

Aposhian, an airman first class, joined the Air Force in December and completed basic training in February, according to her family.

On Wednesday the other person killed was identified as Airman First Class Julian Carlos Torres, 20, of Texas.

The 319th Reconnaissance Wing Commander Colonel Cameron S. Pringle said in a statement on Wednesday that "this is heartbreaking."

"I cannot begin to express the sorrow and pain I feel on behalf of these units and the families affected by this tragedy,” Pringle said.

Grand Forks was the first duty station for both members and neither deployed, according to a statement from the base.

Torres was reportedly rushed to a local hospital where he died from his injuries shortly after arriving.

Air Force personnel responded at 4:30 a.m. Monday for a shooting inside the dormitory that left two air force members dead.

Torres was a member of security forces, which’s the on-base police.

While details aren’t being released by the air force, guns aren’t allowed inside dormitories. Torres’s job would allow him to carry one inside.

“Once you've shot and killed somebody with your duty weapon, in the military, and that realization comes to you. It's like oh my God what am I going to do,” retired Lt. Col. Randy Nedegaard said.

Nedegaard spent 20 years in the air force and spent five years as the behavioral health flight commander at Grand Forks Air Force Base before retiring in 2010.

Nedegaard said seeking help in the military is frowned upon by peers.

“There's this military culture that says, ‘hey, don't seek help.’ Not explicitly. Leadership will say, ‘you need some help, seek help,’” Nedegaard said.

Nedegaard added that living in Grand Forks can also be hard for some young airmen who joined with dreams of traveling the world.

“Know that suicide tends to come out of this sense of hopelessness and helplessness... when you feel trapped. When you feel vulnerable. When you feel like you can't change your environment,” Nedegaard said.

Over the last 10 years, without including Monday’s incident, there have been four deadly shootings at Grand Forks involving active-duty airmen. All were suicidal in nature.

All 21 airmen living in the Grand Forks dorm where the incident happened were evacuated.

If you need help, you can call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.