NORFOLK — The man who gunned down a fellow sailor Friday at Naval Air Station Oceana before he was shot to death by base security has been identified as Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Christopher J. Ruffier.
Ruffier, 26, was an Ohio native assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 37. The unidentified female victim belonged to the same command, authorities told Navy Times.
Ruffier died in the parking lot of VFA-37′s Hangar 145. His victim remains hospitalized in stable condition, according to Navy Region Mid-Atlantic officials.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service is probing the incident, which military authorities have characterized as a “domestic” shooting.
The Navy also has launched a separate Judge Advocate General inquiry, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic officials said.
NCIS officials did not return messages seeking comment.
Ruffier had a brief Navy career. He enlisted on Feb. 15, 2018 and graduated from boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, two months later.
After completing two schools in Pensacola and Naval Air Station Ocean, he reported to his squadron on July 7.
The Navy lists his official date of rank as Feb. 15, 2018, the same day he entered service.
That indicates he was not advanced in the Navy before he died.
At the request of military officials, Navy Times forwarded to three commands lengthy federal court records that appears to track recent law enforcement activity against a Christopher J. Ruffier at Naval Air Station Oceana.
On Feb. 7, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask dismissed without prejudice three citations lodged against Ruffier that were slated to be tried on April 1 in the Norfolk Division of the Eastern District Court of Virginia.
They stemmed from an incident that allegedly occurred on Jan. 26 at 6:15 p.m. at Barracks Building 536 at Naval Air Station Oceana following a report of a “disorderly individual” by a second class aviation ordnanceman “who stated that she heard/witnessed an individual making disparaging remarks to another unknown individual,” according to one of the citations.
Once the law enforcement officers determined “Ruffier was the person in question,” they went to contact him but he “failed to comply with task directions/ instructions and was displaying aggressive behavior toward other officers on the scene,” an officer wrote.
When Ruffier consented to a preliminary breath test, he “blew a .072,” just below the legal limit for alcohol intoxication in Virginia, according to the citation.
The legal filings identify two other individuals at the scene who had “an odor of an alcoholic beverage” on their breath and they were minors. One of them named Ruffier as the person who “had purchased and provided them with alcoholic beverages,” an officer wrote.
Ruffier was charged with profane swearing and intoxication in public, purchasing alcoholic beverages for a minors and disorderly conduct in a public place.
At the bottom of the sheet dismissing Ruffier’s case, someone scrawled that it had been sent to a federal prosecutor and “pretrial.”
Federal prosecutors did not return telephone calls seeking comment and Navy public affairs officials seemed unaware of those citations.
Also on Feb. 7, Ruffier was charged with a different incident that also allegedly occurred in January on Naval Air Station Oceana.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Cole filed a sole misdemeanor count of failing to stop at the scene of a vehicle accident in which the defendant was involved.
According to criminal information report, Ruffier was involved in a motor vehicle accident involving less than $1,000 damage on Jan. 4 at Naval Air Station Oceana but he failed “to report his name, address, driver’s license number and vehicle registration number to the local law enforcement agent and to the person struck.”
A court date was scheduled for March 4 but the matter does not seem to have been resolved.
In both cases, Ruffier appears to have represented himself, without an attorney present, according to court documents.
But that doesn’t appear to be his only experience in federal court.
On Feb. 2, 2017, using the same Canton address that appears on his criminal citations, Ruffier filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in Ohio.
He claimed $42,636 in liabilities, mostly unpaid school loans. He estimated he owned $2,500 in personal property but listed no firearms in the inventory.
He told the court he made $18,532 per year.
Ruffier was discharged from bankruptcy oversight on May 26, 2017
Less than eight months later he began recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.