Coroner: Former Army soldier bought gun hours before killing his wife, suffered PTSD

Local News

New details in Tuesday’s discovery of a husband and wife’s tragic homicide-suicide now begin to paint a clearer picture of what lead up to their shootings.

As News 3 reported, 25-year-old Jeffrey Gilbert and 26-year-old Lora Gilbert were found dead Tuesday around 9 a.m. in the backyard of the Lyn Drive home they once shared together. Coroner Buddy Bryan says evidence so far confirms Jeffrey shot Lora some time Monday evening before turning the gun on himself.

“It was a horrific scene to be on. Certainly uncalled for,” Bryan tells News 3’s Mikhaela Singleton. “She had tried to run, he shot her in the back and we did have an exit wound in the abdomen. Then while apparently laying on the ground, he shot her twice in the left side of the head right behind the ear.”

Bryan says while we may never know exactly what prompted the shootings, he does add Jeffrey bought the .45 caliber pistol used in the incident just hours before. 

“It was not premeditated when [he and his mother] came to town, because he had multiple guns there in Arkansas and when he and his mother left the home to come over here, they had full intentions to go to court,” Bryan explains. “They had just been to [the store] and picked up some clothing, around $400 worth for him to wear, they’d obtained his medical records because he was going to have a hip replacement within the next few weeks. You know, life was what it was, and then he made a trip over to Lyn Drive and unfortunately found that evidence and decided to go buy the gun and take her life and his own.”

The evidence Bryan mentions was apparently a documentation of something that “would have been detrimental” to Jeffrey’s ongoing divorce proceedings with Lora. In fact, the two were due in court the morning they were found.

“He was just jealous,” claims a friend of Lora’s, only identified as “Rosa”. “I mean I knew he was capable, I’m not surprised that he — I just can’t believe it’s actually real, and he actually did it. Cuz she knew he was gonna do this. … I guess if he couldn’t have her, no one could.”

Coroner Bryan also confirms to News 3 Jeffrey Gilbert suffered a bomb injury while serving in the Army. He was reportedly discharged due to a traumatic brain injury from the event. Bryan also says Jeffrey suffered from PTSD.

“Rosa” adds she saw first hand the way Jeffrey’s behavior affected his relationship with Lora.

“It’s been going on since I’ve known her where he would be in and out of the mental ward. Trying to get help, changing his medications, none of that seemed to work, and in the last year he’s been getting very territorial over her. She couldn’t take it no more and she wanted to leave him,” she says.

“Rosa” also claims she watched Jeffrey’s behavior escalate into mental and verbal abuse.

“[Lora] wanted help, she asked for help. The police have been called numerous times. She’s went to Fort Benning trying to get help with the hospital with his doctors, and they all just told her to take it up in court, that it was a marital issue,” she tells News 3’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Coroner Bryan says unfortunately, he sees cases similar to Jeffrey and Lora’s between 4 to 6 times a year.

“A lot of the time it’s involving military men. They go through a lot when they’re over in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this gentleman himself was affected by what he went through there,” he says.

Bryan does add his sympathies are with both families who were taken by surprise at their sudden losses. “Rosa” tells News 3 she just hopes other young women can learn from Lora’s experience.

“Demand help, don’t take no for an answer, you know? Make them believe you, because Lora felt as if no one believed her.”

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