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Army veteran identified as Fort Knox shooting victim

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Military charges Jacobs with murder, aggravated assault as neighbors react to slaying

By Sarah Bennett

Neighbors of Lloyd Gibert described him as a soft spoken man who kept to himself but was warm toward those around him.

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Michael Vittitow, who lived across the street from Gibert on Jockey Court in Elizabethtown, said Gibert had a love of music and barbecue and carried himself in a clean-cut and assured manner.

“You could tell he was a well-educated guy,” Vittitow said as he stood on his porch Saturday afternoon looking at Gibert’s empty home.

A U.S. Army veteran and civilian employee with nine years of experience with Human Resources Command, Gibert was the victim in Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Knox.

Gibert, 51, was shot at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday in a parking lot near the HRC building at Fort Knox, according to a statement released Friday by the Fort Knox Public Affairs Office. He was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m. at Ireland Army Community Hospital.

Officials also confirmed Sgt. Marquinta E. Jacobs, 36, of Radcliff is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated assault in connection to the shooting.

Enlisted since 2004, Jacobs is a unit supply specialist in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and has been at Fort Knox since 2009, according to a news release. Jacobs twice deployed to Afghanistan, including during the 3/1’s most recent deployment in 2010, said Kyle Hodges, public affairs officer at Fort Knox.

On Friday, Hodges declined to elaborate on a motive or Gibert and Jacobs’ relationship because the investigation is ongoing.

Gibert’s Facebook page said he was a native of Columbus, Ga., and described his job as “guiding tomorrow’s leaders of the free world: the ‘Kings of Battle.’”

In 2008, Gibert led a team of Army civilian human resource workers on an expedition from Alexandria, Va., to Fort Knox. As part of the Army’s base realignment, human resources operations were consolidated at Fort Knox from multiple operations including many jobs relocated from Alexandria.

In a news story about the trip, Gibert told a reporter the brief visit to Kentucky was an effort to feel out the area so HRC civilian employees could decide whether to relocate with the command in 2010 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure initiative.

“We’ve changed a lot of opinions on what Kentucky has to offer,” he said.

When Vittitow learned someone had been shot at Fort Knox, he just considered it another random act of violence until he heard who the victim was.

“I didn’t expect it to be anyone down the street,” he said.

Vittitow said he occasionally spent time with Gibert, chatting or “cutting up.”

“I considered him a friend,” he said.

Joel Shoaf lives next door to Vittitow and echoed his comments, saying Gibert was reserved but always quick to offer a hello. Shoaf said he did not know Gibert well but they never failed to greet one another if they were outdoors.

“He was always friendly and nice,” he said.

Jacobs appeared Friday in federal court in Bowling Green where a judge dismissed a criminal complaint the FBI filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Louisville charging the soldier with murder, according to federal court officials.

A judicial order transferred all further proceedings to the military.

The U.S. Army formally initiated charges Friday of premeditated murder and aggravated assault against Jacobs at Fort Knox, according to a release from the post.

Officials said he will be lodged at Marion County Detention Center in Lebanon pending an Article 32 Investigation, which is similar to a civilian grand jury hearing.

According to the FBI’s complaint, a witness said Jacobs approached Gibert on Wednesday as Gibert walked through the HRC parking lot. After speaking, the soldier allegedly struck Gibert several times before firing a .45-caliber handgun.

The FBI said Jacobs fled in a 2010 gold Dodge Ram pickup truck that later was found at his residence on Independence Drive in Radcliff.

Investigators reported finding eight shell casings at the scene, according to the complaint. On the night of the shooting, law enforcement officials interviewed Jacobs’ wife, who confirmed the soldier owns a Glock pistol that fires .45-caliber ammunition, the FBI said.

The woman told investigators Jacobs fled on a black Yamaha motorcycle they discovered Thursday at his mother’s residence in Portland, Tenn., according to the complaint.

Police apprehended Jacobs on Thursday afternoon in Portland, which is five miles south of the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command is leading the ongoing investigation with assistance from the FBI field office in Louisville.

Vittitow said he expects shootings like this to occur in Louisville but not this close to home. Likewise, he said he has trouble grasping the idea that someone could hate Gibert enough to kill him.

“I still keep finding myself looking for him,” he said of Gibert. “I guess I haven’t really accepted it yet.”

Sarah Bennettcan be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.

Marty Finleycan be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.