Soldier killed on U.S. soil leaves his family in shock
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent October 17, 2011 10:52PM
Ronald Evans Taylor. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 19, 2011 8:51AM
Army Sgt. Ronald Evans Taylor, 28, was supposed to be coming home to his native Wheatfield soon.
Taylor, who was stationed at Fort Riley, Kan., had served two tours of duty in Iraq as a combat medic and X-ray technician since he enlisted in January 2007, and he was in the process of a medical discharge that his family said would have brought him home to Wheatfield in about a month.
That all changed when the soldier was murdered Friday night, about two blocks from his off-base home in Ogden, Kan.
“You don’t expect these things to happen. When he’s been overseas, to know he got killed here at home it’s real hard on my family,” said his younger brother Alex Taylor, of Farmington Hills, Mich., Monday.
Taylor said Riley County police are tracking down leads in the murder. Witnesses in the area reported hearing two shots before the soldier crashed his vehicle into a home at 7th and Walnut streets in Odgen. He was taken to Irwin Army Community Hospital on Fort Riley where he was pronounced dead.
“It looks like he was trying to get away from whoever was trying to hurt him and passed out in his car from his wounds,” Alex Taylor said.
Taylor said his brother, who graduated from Kankakee Valley High School in 2001, was a combat medic just outside of Baghdad.
“He was doing what he loved, taking care of people, the wounded warriors,” he said. “He loved taking care of people. He was in the field he wanted to be in. It just makes it so hard to understand why someone would want to hurt him.”
He described his older brother as a man with many friends who cared about people. Known as Evans, Taylor said his brother was the father figure in the lives of Taylor and his two siblings, Hans and Tiffany.
“We grew up without a father. He was really kind of our father figure. It’s just really hard without him,” Alex Taylor said. Coping with the loss of his brother’s life is compounded knowing the murder leaves the soldier’s 5-year-old son, Riley Evans Taylor, without a father.
Taylor said his brother started his second tour in Iraq in October 2010 and recently returned about a month early for medical reasons and was living in Ogden while he pursued the medical discharge. He planned to return to Wheatfield so he could spend more time with his son, who lives in the area with Taylor’s estranged wife, Amanda Griede.
“The tragedy of it is he wanted to come home to see his son and he will not be able to do that. It was looking like it was just be a few more weeks, then he was killed, I just want people to know the tragedy losing my brother here on U.S. soil,” Taylor said.
“Whenever we talked he always ended his conversation with ‘I love you brother. I love you so much.’ I didn’t appreciate it fully, but now I’m so glad he did,” Taylor said.
Ronald Evans Taylor was promoted posthumously to the rank of sergeant. His body is expected to arrive at O’Hare International Airport Thursday. Funeral and visitation arrangements are pending through Boersma Funeral Home in Wheatfield.