Army Ranger Sentenced for Guard's Death After Drunken Rampage

 May 13, 2024

A courtroom verdict has sealed the fate of an Army Ranger over a grievous crime committed in 2021.

According to Daily Mail, Patrick Philip Byrne, an Army Ranger, received a 20-year sentence for the murder of Denise Smith, a security guard in Tacoma.

In the calm yet tense air of downtown Tacoma, the early hours of July 18, 2021, turned heinous when Byrne, heavily intoxicated, confronted 41-year-old Denise Smith. Smith, a newly appointed security guard, attempted to prevent Byrne from entering the premises she was guarding. This led to a brutal and fatal assault that lasted between eight to ten minutes.

According to prosecutors, "During that time, the defendant repeatedly punched the victim with his fists, and he grabbed her by her braid and 'dragged her around like a rag doll.'"

Details of the Fateful Night

Earlier that night, Byrne was involved in a skirmish at a local bar, which perhaps foreshadowed the subsequent events. After leaving the bar, his aggressive behavior escalated, culminating in the tragic incident at the building where Smith was stationed.

The assault was not just physical but crossed into severe brutality. Byrne attacked Smith with such ferocity that she was left unrecognizable, employing his fists, her braid, and keys to stab her face and choke her.

Patrick Philip Byrne expressed his remorse:

I wish I had never gone to that bar, that I had never gone out at all that night. I wish I had never even been out here, then none of this would have happened. And Denise Smith, a wonderful woman, to be sure, she would still be alive and part of the world for much, much longer.

Aftermath and Sentencing

Following the assault, Byrne’s rampage continued inside the building, where he vandalized a conference room before suffering injuries from a jump from a landing. A passer-by found him and initially claimed to have been assaulted, although no evidence supported his claims.

At his sentencing, Byrne cited brain injuries as influencing his violent actions, a point his defense emphasized, seeking some leniency. Nevertheless, the court handed down a two-decade prison term.

Denise Smith’s father, Charles E. Reagins, voiced the agony and irreparable loss his family experienced due to Byrne's actions. "The actions of Byrne toward my daughter were brutal, savage, harsh, cruel, unnecessary, and worthless! It was downright cold-blooded murder."

Community Response and Reflections

The incident has starkly highlighted issues surrounding alcohol-induced violence and the safety of security personnel. Community leaders and residents have since called for increased support and stricter measures to protect security workers.

The sentencing concludes a painful chapter for the Smith family, though the echoes of the tragedy continue to reverberate in their lives and the Tacoma community. Byrne, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord at the time of the murder, will now face the consequences of his actions behind bars.

In essence, the tragedy of Denise Smith’s untimely death serves as a grim reminder of the consequences of unaddressed psychological and substance abuse issues. It calls for comprehensive strategies to support and rehabilitate individuals prone to alcohol-related aggressions, ensuring such devastating incidents are prevented in the future.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

Top Articles



Receive information on new articles posted, important topics and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. 
Unsubscribe at any time.

Recent Articles

Recent Analysis

Copyright © 2024 -
A Project of Connell Media.