Drunk Army ranger, 26, punched and choked to death a female security guard

Drunk Army ranger, 26, ‘punched and choked female security guard, 41, to death in savage 10-minute beating that left her body unrecognizable’

  • Patrick Byrne, 26, pleaded not guilty Friday to killing 41-year-old Denise Smith
  • Punched and choked her after she asked him to leave office in Tacoma, Wash. 
  • Army issued statement Friday calling the alleged assault ‘absolutely appalling’










An Army ranger has been charged with murder after allegedly beating and choking to death a security guard during a brutal ten-minute assault after she tried to stop him entering a building.

Patrick Byrne, 26, pleaded not guilty Friday to killing 41-year-old Denise Smith while she was on duty at an office building in downtown Tacoma, Washington, at around 1am on July 18.

Smith – who had only recently been hired – was so badly beaten she was unrecognizable when it was discovered at 6am, according to investigators cited in court documents.

Patrick Byrne, 26, pleaded not guilty Friday to killing 41-year-old Denise Smith

Smith had been on duty at an office building in downtown Tacoma, Washington, at around 1am on July 18

Smith had been on duty at an office building in downtown Tacoma, Washington, at around 1am on July 18

Pierce County prosecutors charged him with two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.

According to charging papers Byrne was out drinking with friends in downtown Tacoma and got into a bar fight where he was punched in the face. He then left the bar and walked in the direction of the building.

Authorities say Byrne approached the front door and the security guard motioned for him to leave. When he didn’t, the security guard opened the front door and Byrne tried to barge past her.

‘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,’ prosecutors wrote in charging papers.

The ranger also seized Smith’s keys and used them to stab her face before choking her until she went limp after an attack lasting eight to 10 minutes, it is alleged.

After abandoning her body, Byrne smashed a window in a nearby conference room and began throwing furniture around, reported KING-TV, citing court documents.

He then jumped 14 feet from a landing and was seen lying on concrete.

Smith - who had only recently been hired - was so badly beaten she was unrecognizable when it was discovered at 6am (pictured are police by the building)

Smith – who had only recently been hired – was so badly beaten she was unrecognizable when it was discovered at 6am (pictured are police by the building) 

A bloodied Byrne was seen by a passer-by crying for help and was taken to hospital after they made a 911 call. He alleged that he had been stabbed and sexually assaulted but there was no evidence of this.

Byrne is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, according to an Army Special Operations Command news release.

He entered the Army as an infantryman in March 2019. After completing the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program in July 2020, Byrne was assigned to his current battalion.

The U.S. Army issued a statement Friday calling the alleged assault ‘absolutely appalling’.

After abandoning her body, Byrne smashed a window in a nearby conference room and began throwing furniture around

After abandoning her body, Byrne smashed a window in a nearby conference room and began throwing furniture around

‘The Tacoma Police Department has the full cooperation of the United States Army Special Operations Command,’ the statement said. ‘Our deepest condolences to the families affected by this tragedy.’

Smith’s family said they were ‘devastated’ at her death and described her as a sweet person who largely kept to herself.

Byrne is being held at Pierce County Jail after a judge set bail at $2 million.

Advertisement

.