ANCHORAGE - A 21-year-old military police officer who returned from Afghanistan two months ago likely shot his wife and 8-month-old baby to death, police said Tuesday.
The bodies of Racquell Lynch, 19, and Kyirsta Lynch were found Monday by an apartment manager who opened up their Anchorage unit at the request of military police.
Authorities had been looking for Spc. Kip Lynch, who had not shown up for duties at Fort Richardson Army Post. He was found severely wounded in another room and rushed to a hospital, where he underwent surgery.
"Kip Lynch is still in a local hospital and listed in critical condition of what are now considered to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds," police said in a prepared statement. Detectives have not been able to interview him.
Homicide detectives believe Kip Lynch was the shooter after reviewing preliminary autopsy results and evidence from the scene.
Anchorage police Lt. Dave Parker said investigators had not found that Lynch had experienced problems after his return to Alaska.
"At first blush, there's no indication of that," Parker said. "It's really a mystery to the people who know him."
Army Alaska spokesman Maj. Bill Coppernoll said it would be inappropriate to comment on whether Lynch had been in counseling or legal trouble after returning. He called the deaths a tragedy for the Fort Richardson community and said the prayers of the post were with the family.
The family of Kip Lynch released a statement and said it would be their only comment.
"We are still in shock and trying to figure out how to deal with this tragedy," the statement said. "His family remembers him as a strong, spirited, good-humored and sweet young man. He loved his beautiful wife and daughter with all his heart. Words cannot express how much we will miss them."
The family said Lynch had proudly served his country in the Army in Afghanistan. They asked for privacy from the media.
Lynch, of Jacksonville, Fla., is assigned to the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. His unit served a year in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.
The Army said Lynch enlisted in September 2007 and went to boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.