The body of Master Sgt. William Lavigne II, 37, pictured above, was found in Fort Bragg on December 2. He was investigated in 2018 after fatally shooting his friend, Sgt. First Class Mark Leshikar
A Special Forces soldier found dead in Fort Bragg earlier this month was allegedly responsible for the fatal shooting of a Green Beret in front of his five-year-old daughter in 2018, new reports reveal.
The body of Master Sgt. William Lavigne II, 37, was found on the North Carolina base on December 2. The body of Army veteran Timothy Dumas, 44, also lay nearby.
Fort Bragg said foul play is suspected in their deaths and it is being investigated as a homicide, although no weapon was found on the scene.
As news of the deaths broke, the family of Sgt. First Class Mark Leshikar began to speak out, however
They revealed how Lavigne had allegedly shot Leshikar dead during an argument in his home two years ago but was never charged, despite inconsistencies in his account of the incident.
Delta Force operator Lavigne had claimed that 33-year-old Leshikar, with whom he had been good friends, came at him with a screwdriver.
Yet he initially told cops that Leshikar had killed himself, and in another version of events, said that he could not see Leshikar’s hands and would not have known if he had a screwdriver, according to Connecting Vets.
An investigating officer from the 1st Special Forces Command wrote in a memorandum that Lavigne was not credible in his retelling of the incident. However, the command ruled that Leshikar’s death was in the line of duty.
Sgt. First Class Mark Leshikar, 33, was shot dead by Lavigne in March 2018 in front of his five-year-old daughter. Cops said the shooting was justifiable despite inconsistencies in Lavigne’s story. Lavigne said Leshikar came at him with a screwdriver but none was found at the scene
Mark Leshikar is pictured with his daughter who witnessed his death in March 2018
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office also declared Leshikar’s death as a ‘justifiable homicide’.
Since the shooting, Leshikar’s family have made claims that evidence may have been tampered with, telling Connecting Vets that Lavigne called another friend to come to the scene after he killed Leshikar.
The friend, another Delta Force Operator, allegedly took Leshikar’s phone and only returned it to his wife Laura days later, claiming he had found it in the victim’s car.
While Leshikar’s family said that the man in question was a good friend, they questioned his actions, suspecting that information on the phone may have been altered.
Leshikar’s sister Nicole Rick said that Lavigne and Leshikar were best friends but would often argue and both were involved in taking drugs
Leshikar had a desk job in Fort Bragg after suffering from a traumatic brain injury due to an improvised explosive device detonating near him. He had served in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
His family said that he became addicted to Tramadol which he was prescribed to treat his brain injury and began to self-medicate with Valium.
Both men allegedly used cocaine.
‘I knew about Mark’s drugs, I knew about Billy’s drugs,’ Leshikar’s mother Tammy Mabey told Connecting Vets.
The men had been on vacation with their families in Disney World, Florida, between March 15 and 19, 2018, but according to Lavigne, Leshikar began to act strangely during the car ride back to their homes in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
He told police that Leshikar was ‘paranoid’ that they were being followed, although his wife Laura said that Leshikar appeared lucid when she spoke to him that day. She said that she did not believe her husband was acting strangely that day.
The 1st Special Forces Command Line of Duty Memorandum deemed that Lavigne was not credible and lists the inconsistencies in his accounts of the March 2018 shooting
The Medical Examiner summary details Lavigne’s description of the shooting
They had arrived at Lavigne’s home on March 21, where the men allegedly began to have an argument in the driveway as Leshikar was working on his car.
It is not clear what the argument was about, but Lavigne said he ran into the house, locking himself and both their young daughter’s inside.
Leshikar’s five-year-old daughter told family members that she let her father into the house as ‘Uncle Billy was scaring her’.
‘She said that when she opened the door, and her daddy was mad and walking towards uncle Billy and uncle Billy came around and shot him, and then my daddy did this,’ the family claimed, explaining that the girl mimed falling to the ground.
‘He kept shooting. I looked at my daddy’s face and I knew he was gone,’ she allegedly said, claiming that the little girl did not wish to speak about it before this as she feared Lavigne would kill her mother.
Leshikar’s body was found in a prone position by police officers with multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and neck inside Lavigne’s house.
Mark Leshikar, pictured, was shot dead by Lavigne in front of his five-year-old daughter. Cops deemed the death justifiable
Four .45-caliber shell casing were found at the scene, three of which had hit him.
Tramadol and Valium were found in his system yet no toxicology report was ever carried out on Lavigne, Leshikar’s family claim.
Lavigne first said that Leshikar had killed himself, according to an Army memorandum, yet later changed his story.
In his statement to cops, Lavigne said that his shot his friend after he came at him with a screwdriver, yet none was found, according to the Medical Examiner’s report.
A Defense Department memorandum revealed further inconsistencies.
‘No screwdriver or any weapon was found near SFC Leshikar’s body,’ the memorandum states, adding that Lavigne ‘never stated or implied that he moved the screwdriver or any weapon after shooting SFC Leshikar’.
It noted that at another point, Lavigne said that Leshikar was ‘acting in a menacing manner, but he could not see SFC’s Leshikar’s hands’.
Cops said that a screwdriver was found outside by Leshikar’s vehicle.
Lavigne also claimed that Leshikar had continued to act strangely once they returned from Florida and began to disconnect the car battery.
He said that he locked himself and their daughters in the house and called the same friend who allegedly later took Leshikar’s phone for help.
Lavigne never faced any charges for the shooting and his career with special operations command continued after cops ruled the death justifiable and a 1st Special Forces Command investigation said Leshikar died in the line of duty.
An investigation by the Army Criminal Investigation Command also deemed the death justifiable.
Yet Leshikar’s family have remained angered at the apparent errors in Lavigne’s story.
‘William told me that my brother had a screwdriver, but nothing was found at the scene,’ his sister Nicole Rick told Connecting Vets.
Lavigne would go on to have another brush with the law the following year.
In February 2019, he was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records.
In February 2019, Lavigne was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records (pictured above)
Fort Bragg has hit the headlines over several suspicious deaths in the past few weeks
Lavigne enlisted in the Army in 2001 and deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
In 2007, he graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to the 1st Special Forces with a follow-on assignment to US Army Special Operations Command.
Lavigne and Dumas’ deaths were discovered earlier this month after their bodies were found in the training area of Fort Bragg.
Dumas was a resident of Pinehurst, North Carolina, who previously served at the base. No additional information about him has been released.
WRAL reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, that one body was found lying flat on the ground. The other was wrapped in a blanket near a pickup truck.
Army veteran Timothy Dumas, 44, pictured above, was found dead alongside Mark Lavigne in Fort Bragg on December 2
The deaths are being investigated by special agents from the Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Leshikar’s family has said that Lavigne’s death could mean that they now never will know the truth behind the 2018 shooting.
‘When I found out he died, I wasn’t happy, it made me sick. I knew I would never find out what really happened that night,’ Mabey said.
‘In his heart, he was all for defending people who could not defend themselves. Which is why he became a Green Beret and why “De Oppresso Liber” meant everything to him because that was who he was to his core.’
‘My granddaughter was so relieved that he was dead that she was crying,’ she added of Leshikar’s daughter.
Fort Bragg, covering nearly 172,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest military complexes, according to its website. It has approximately 57,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees and 23,000 family members.
The base was already in the news in early December after an autopsy report revealed that a Fort Bragg paratrooper who went missing during a camping trip on a North Carolina island with fellow soldiers in May had been decapitated.
In October, Fort Bragg made headlines when a civilian worker on the base lewdly replied to pornographic content from Fort Bragg’s official Twitter account, which was later deleted
A few weeks prior, tragedy struck on the base in North Carolina when Staff Sgt. Jason Lowe, 27, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division took his own life.
Lowe’s was the tenth suicide the 82nd Airborne Division has endured so far this year, a number that stood at four last year. In 2018, six division paratroopers took their own lives; four did so in 2017.