Army Ranger charged in death of Washington security guard

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An Army Ranger was arrested Friday in connection to the death of a Tacoma security guard found dead last week. 

Tacoma police arrested Patrick Byrne, 26, who is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Byrne is charged with kidnapping, beating and choking to death Denise Smith, 42, an on-duty security guard at an office building on July 18. 

Another security guard found Smith dead and called police at around 6 a.m. EMS pronounced her dead at the scene, Stars and Stripes reported. 

Police used security video footage to identify Byrne as the suspect.

Byrne allegedly approached a locked door and barged inside when Smith opened the door to tell him to leave, KIRO reported. 

Smith tried to push Byrne out of the building, but he grabbed her and threw her to the ground. He then beat her with his fists before grabbing a set of keys and stabbing her in the face multiple times. 

The assault lasted nearly eight minutes, police said. Byrne then allegedly choked Smith until she stopped moving.

Byrne then entered a conference room and smashed a window with a chair, through which he started throwing things, including furniture, before leaving the building. 

Fire department personnel picked up Byrne shortly after, when witnesses called about a bloody man yelling for help near where the killing occurred. He was taken to hospital, where he claimed he had been stabbed, but medical personnel found no stab wounds. 

Byrne also claimed he did not recall the attack when questioned by police.  

Byrne was arraigned on Friday, when he pled not guilty to the charges. His next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16. 

Byrne joined the Army in March 2019 as an infantryman. He completed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program in July 2020 and was later assigned to Lewis-McChord. 

He is being held at Pierce County Jail on $2 million bail. 

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