Authorities continued this week to investigate the suspected murder-suicide of two Great Lakes-based sailors earlier this month in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling, Illinois.

Police arrived at the intersection of Lakeview Drive and Buffalo Grove Road at about 5 a.m. on June 5 to find Equipment Operator 2nd Class Ajah Brianna Barnes, 26, and Chief Hospital Corpsman Travis Stephens, 37, dead of gunshot wounds, according to Wheeling police.

A handgun was also found nearby.

“Evidence found at the scene was consistent with a homicide in which Mr. Stephens shot Ms. Barnes and then turned the gun on himself,” police said.

“From witness interviews it was determined Mr. Stephens and Ms. Barnes were in a relationship and had an argument overheard by several individuals,” police said in a statement. “This argument spilled into the parking lot where damage was done to each other’s vehicles.”

Barnes then left on foot and Stephens returned to his apartment to “retrieve a handgun and went looking for Ms. Barnes,” according to police.

Stephens lived in the 1500 block of Hunter Drive, about two miles away from the crime scene, while Barnes lived in Gurnee, a suburb near Recruit Training Command-Great Lakes, where both sailors were assigned.

“Wheeling investigators will continue to piece together what occurred over the previous hours leading up this tragic event,” police said.

Recruit Training Command officials did not provide comment for this report.

A Texas native, Barnes enlisted in 2014 and had been assigned to Great Lakes since September.

Stephens enlisted in 2003, made chief in October and had been assigned to the boot camp since July.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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