7 News Exclusive: Fort Drum Shooting Victim Speaks Out

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On May 18, police were called to the home of Sergeant Jason Seeds on Fort Drum, where he allegedly shot his wife in the head and back.

Officials said there was a short standoff after the shooting, when Sgt. Seeds refused to leave the home.

Now Seeds's wife tells 7 News that her husband's mental health had rapidly declined, especially while he was away at war.

The wife, who asked us to withhold her identity, spoke exclusively with 7 News reporter Jessica Shaw and said her story was one that could have been prevented.

Sgt. Seeds and his wife were married in February 2009.

Now, Jason is in custody, accused of shooting his wife in the head and back.

His wife shared pictures of her injuries - pellets from the the .12 gauge shotgun are still embedded in her body.

"When I seen him actually pick up the rifle and come after me, there was no question. I knew that he had intended to use it. It kind of felt like getting hit in the back of the head with a sledge hammer.  But it wasn't him. He was not there. It was his body, his actions, but that's not the person I married.  That's not the person that left in October of 2009," she said.

Sgt. Seeds has been deployed four times - once to Kosovo and three times to Iraq.

It was during his last tour that his wife noticed a change.

"He had a lot of nightmares, a lot of anxiety, would get very upset easily.  His rational thinking was depleting," she said.

He would write emails and texts.

At 6:16 p.m. on the night of the shooting, one text read, "Your so done".

At 6:32 p.m., he wrote, "I love you...goodbye."

Six minutes later, another text came:  "Tell them in garage gun in mouth.".

And at 6:40 p.m., "I'm sorry I'm gonna shoot myself I can't go to jail."

And finally, "Goodbye my love."

"I married him. I agreed to be there good and bad. He wasn't a bad person.  He was a sick person that needed to be helped," said Seeds' wife.

Over the years, his wife says she has asked a number of people on post for help.

She has no record of this, but she tells us she reached out to Fort Drum Behavioral Health which couldn't book Sgt. Seeds an appointment until months later.

She says she also spoke to counselors, chaplains and even his commander.

"They said they would have to command refer him and if was to be command referred, then he would be given dismissal from the Army. So if he wanted to remain being a soldier, these problems need to resolve themselves. It was pretty much insinuated that either this stuff disappears or we are going to remove you from your duties as a soldier.  So what help was there to offer? Nothing," she said.

Seeds' wife also said, "I'm not resentful. I'm not angry. I'm angry it was let to happen. That's what my issue is. This could have been prevented."

7 News contacted Fort Drum for comment Monday.

Spokesperson Julie Cupernall said the Army encourages soldiers in need to seek mental health treatment.

She called allegations that the military separates mentally ill soldiers from the Army "dangerous misinformation."

In a prepared statement, Cupernall wrote: "Mental health care is complex and unique based on the individual needs of the Soldier. While we cannot comment on any specific medical needs of any of our Soldiers, it's important to note that it should never be used as a rationale for violence. We have many opportunities for Soldiers to self refer for help and also provide training to all levels of the chain of command to recognize the warning signs of extreme stress. As with any incident of this nature we are conducting a thorough investigation in an effort to fully understand the circumstances that led to this family's crisis and continue to support the family with all available resources."


 

Saturday, July 26, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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