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Army identifies shooter at Virginia base as Iraq war veteran

By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army on Wednesday identified the soldier who fatally shot herself at a Virginia base this week as Sergeant First Class Paula Walker, an Iraq war veteran.

Walker, 33, brandished a pistol and barricaded herself inside an office at Fort Lee, in central Virginia, on Monday. She shot herself in the head as police negotiated with her and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Walker, from Yonkers, New York, was a human resources specialist, the base said in a statement. She enlisted in September 2000 and had served at Fort Lee since December 2011.

She served a 15-month combat tour in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. Her awards included three Army Commendation Medals, the statement said.

The shooting at the base's Combined Arms Support Command Headquarters is under investigation and no motive has been given. The incident led to a brief lockdown of the base, the Army's third-largest training site.

Officials have said Walker was armed with a small-caliber handgun, not a military weapon.

The shooting came about four months after a soldier with mental health problems killed three people and wounded 16 at Fort Hood in Texas. The Fort Hood incident was the third shooting rampage at a U.S. military base in six months.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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