Wilmington soldier’s death in Alaska under investigation

By L. Finch
Globe Correspondent / July 25, 2011

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The apparent shooting death of a soldier from Wilmington last week on a military base in Alaska is under investigation.

Army Specialist Christopher R. Crosby, 23, was found dead in his barracks room on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, near Anchorage, on July 18, the Anchorage Daily News said. Two noncommissioned officers who came to check on his welfare after he failed to appear for morning physical training routines discovered Crosby, the paper reported.

Neither a spokesman for the base nor Crosby’s family could be reached for comment yesterday.

Crosby graduated from Wilmington High School in 2006 and studied at Worcester State College for two years before joining the Army, his family said in an obituary provided by a funeral home.

In high school, Crosby played varsity soccer and was a member of the track team. He was a “tough kid,’’ strong and athletic, and a committed team player, said Stephen Scanlon, his former high school soccer coach.

“He always had a smile on his face and got along with everybody,’’ Scanlon said yesterday. “He was a hard-working guy.’’

Crosby was always joking with family and friends, was proud of his Italian and Irish ancestry, and “loved a good corned beef and cabbage dinner,’’ the obituary said.

He believed he had found his calling in the Army, the obituary said. He leaves his parents, Donna and Robert, and two sisters, Kelly and Kristin, all of Wilmington; and a large extended family.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Thomas of Villanova Church in Wilmington on Wednesday at 10 a.m., followed by interment with full military honors in Wildwood Cemetery in Wilmington.

“Everybody is very sad about what happened, but proud of him for everything he’s given up for the country,’’ Scanlon said. “He was a good kid.’’

L. Finch can be reached at