Navy Chief Petty Officer Andrea L. Washington was proud.
She received her senior enlisted rank just last week in a ceremony, Navy officials said, an important milestone of her 17-year career as a sailor. A family friend, Phantom McClendon, told First Coast News that the recognition meant a lot to her. Celebrations were planned.
But Washington, 37, had worrying troubles at home. She filed for a protective order, on Sept. 4, against a man she was in a relationship with and who lived with her, saying he assaulted her and threatened her with a gun, court documents say. The temporary order was approved a day later.
Washington and the man were scheduled to appear in court Monday morning for a permanent order.
He showed up, documents show, but she did not.
Washington was found dead late Monday evening, Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, a Navy spokeswoman, told The Washington Post on Wednesday.
It is not clear when Washington died.
Authorities are investigating the incident as a homicide, although an initial report obtained by ABC News said it was not related to domestic violence. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has not returned multiple calls seeking comment.
It is not clear whether the man, 36, against whom Washington had a protective order, is a suspect or has been questioned by police. The Washington Post is not identifying him, and he could not be reached to comment.
Washington said the man became upset after she asked if he would help pay household bills, according to her statement. He “pushed me down to the floor, kicked me in my stomach, chased me to the bedroom and pulled a gun on me,” she said, according to Duvall County Court records obtained by The Post.
He kicked a hole in a door, destroyed her iPad, and took the keys to her car and mailbox, she said.
Local media outlets reported that Washington was a mother of three.
“She loved her boys. Her sons were her life,” McClendon told First Coast News. “Her heart was made of gold. She was the type of person that she would give you her last dollar and the shirt off her back if you needed it. And that’s just how she was.”
Washington’s career in the Navy, which began in the months before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, included at least one deployment to sea. Her last posting was on the guided missile cruiser USS Hué City, the Navy said.