Army veteran’s throat slashed by soldier, recently discharged soldiers from Fort Bliss

Army veteran Tyler Kaden Croke was killed in El Paso on May 7.

Five individuals -including a US Army soldier and two veterans- have been arrested in connection with the murder of a US Army veteran in El Paso, Texas.

A Fort Bliss soldier and two veterans were part of the gang of five who were detained in the incident, with a Fort Bliss spokesman confirming their identities as 27-year-old active duty soldier Brandon Olsen and recently discharged veterans 19-year-old Adam Acosta and 20-year-old Zachary Johnston, who were discharged around a month ago. The two civilian culprits have been identified as 21-year-old Tristan Hunter Chilton and 28-year-old Stephanie Fernandez.

The slain US Army Veteran -identified as 23-year-old Tyler K. Croke- had served in Afghanistan prior to his discharge and had been going to college at the time of his death.

Croke had reportedly begged for his life after the five bandits entered his home with a shotgun, reportedly searching for drugs. During the confrontation, Johnston allegedly stabbed Croke’s throat with a knife. As he was trying to crawl away, Olsen then allegedly “finished killing the victim by cutting his throat with a knife,” the complaint states. Witnesses report hearing several shots fired, with one hearing a man pleading for his life.

1: Brandon Olsen (Photo: Courtesy El Paso Police Department). 2: Adam Acosta (Dona Ana County Jail). 3: Stephanie Fernadez (Dona Ana County Jail). 4: Zachary Johnston (Dona Ana County Jail) 5: Triston Hunter Chilton (El Paso Police).

Seizing the drugs, the suspects fled in a black Nissan Xterra allegedly driven by Fernandez, which was later identified by unique stickers on the back window, allowing detectives to set up surveillance.

After enough evidence had been compiled, the Nissan was pulled over for a traffic violation.

Chilton was found driving the vehicle at the time with Fernandez as the passenger. When taken to the station for questioning, Chilton admitted what had happened to Croke. Fernandez was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and cocaine and traffic warrants. Olsen was arrested shortly after.

According to the El Paso Times, Johnston and Acosta were arrested in another town and are awaiting extradition to El Paso.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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