A Navy officer was fatally shot last week in Lake Forest, Illinois, in an alleged murder-suicide committed by a man authorities believe was her ex-boyfriend.
Lt. Claire Elizabeth VanLandingham, 27, was found with multiple gunshot wounds outside a Dunkin’ Donuts and was later pronounced dead at Lake Forest Hospital, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A man identified as Ryan Zike, 33, was also found dead at the scene with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the report.
A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, VanLandingham was commissioned as a Navy officer in December 2013 and had been practicing at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, where she provided dental care to recruits from Naval Station Great Lakes, according to Navy records.
Two years ago, as a dental student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, VanLandingham was featured in a Take Back the Night video, in which she decries the prevalence of domestic abuse.
“In a society so violent, have you ever been afraid to walk alone at night? We don’t think you should have to,” she said in the video produced by the American Association for Women Dentists.
VanLandingham frequently volunteered at her church in Louisville and performed free dental work there and abroad for the underprivileged, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Lt. Claire VanLandingham was a valuable member of an elite team of health care professionals caring for our Navy and Marine recruits at Naval Station Great Lakes,” said Capt. Bradford Smith, deputy director and commanding officer of the Lovell Federal Health Care Center. “Her untimely death is tragic, and our hearts go out to her family, friends and coworkers. Our entire command mourns this shocking loss of one of our own.”
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.