FRIENDSHIP, Wis. (AP) -- A 28-year-old Adams man is charged with shooting and killing his girlfriend.
Coleman Dybul was charged Friday with first-degree reckless homicide, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession.
According to the complaint, Dybul told authorities he woke on March 2 and shot his shotgun at what he thought was a person attacking his girlfriend, 27-year-old Toni Voss. When he turned on the light, Dybul found he had shot Voss in the chest. She died at the scene.
The Wausau Daily Herald reports Dybul told authorities he was in the Marines for four years and served in Afghanistan. When he woke up and saw the figure, he said it was like being back in Afghanistan and he had to kill or be killed, according to the complaint.
Dybul remains in jail.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)--Friends of Coleman Dybul say the shooting is tragic.
They say the decorated marine has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD since he returned from combat in Afghanistan several years ago.
"I just couldn't imagine him doing something like that. It had to be a mistake," said Charles Blose, a friend and fellow veteran.
Friends of Coleman Dybul say the man he knew would never intentionally hurt someone.
They say Dybul was a sniper in the Marine Corp for four years and received a purple heart after being severely injured in combat.
But Blose says, since his return, Dybul has been suffering from PTSD and was easily startled.
"Something definitely startled him, and he reacted as if he was in a combat situation," said Blose.
According to the Adams County Sheriff's Department, Dybul called just before 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
He told deputies he was sleeping, when his girlfriend Toni Voss, 27, startled him. Dybul told deputies he didn't know it was her and grabbed the shot gun he kept by the bed. Voss was shot and killed.
"Cole was one of the nicest people I’ve met. He was a marine; he was a sharp marine," said Blose.
Eau Claire County Veterans Service Officer and fellow Veteran Clif Sorenson says post-traumatic stress disorder is a growing mental health issue among service members.
"It has to be caused by something; you experience something (so horrific) your mind cannot accept it, or you have fear of something that will happen," said Sorenson.
Sorenson says that too often today's service members return from combat and immediately go back to their daily civilians lives, but still feel the anxiety or pressure they did while serving.
“Some people don't transition well and those are the people that I ask to come in and talk about it, talk to me, to any counselor,” said Sorenson.
“It's just a tragic thing all the way around," said Blose.
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, visit your local Veteran’s Service Office for free confidential support. CLICK HERE to visit the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Or you can call the emotional crisis hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.