OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say two people who were found deceased in a Northwest Oklahoma City home Saturday night are part of a murder-suicide. They say 24-year-old Baanh Dinh shot and killed his ex-wife, 24-year-old Priscilla Dinh-Kittelson, then turned the gun on himself.
Both were active members of the Air Force and had been stationed at Tinker Air Force base the last two years.
Baanh was a jet engine mechanic and Priscilla worked in maintenance management.
In November, police responded to a domestic call at their house the day before Priscilla filed for divorce.
This murder-suicide happened 17 days after their divorce was finalized.
While the motive for the murder-suicide is unclear, some say this tragedy is following an alarming trend of military suicides.
“We’ve just got to convince them that there is a tomorrow and things will be better,” Rita Aragon said, a retired Air Force Major General and Oklahoma Secretary Of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Baanh Dinh had been deployed three times, once to Iraq, and Aragon says it may not be coincidence that the stress of his service contributed to his actions.
“Unfortunately, suicide right now is at epidemic proportions in the military,” she said.
Although active and retired military men and women make up about 10 percent of Oklahoma’s population, she says they account for nearly 25 percent of our state’s suicides.
The warning signs include becoming detached from loved ones, giving possessions away and stopping all talk about future plans.
Aragon says simply asking someone if they feel hopeless can make a difference.
“We tell people when you see them, you need to reach out and get a hold of someone,” she said.
“Preferably, in the case of all veterans, another veteran because they’re able to relate to them much more effectively.”
Family members did not return our messages Monday.
However, neighbors like Jason Brown say they saw no warning signs from a couple that, he says, seemed normal.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “I mean, if you’re ready to go, why do you have to take somebody else with you?”
Aragon says Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a major factor in suicides, which have quadrupled in Oklahoma in the last four years.
She says the American Legion, VFW and any veterans organization will offer to talk to a military member who feels overwhelmed.