Gerald Read, 58, Victim in Navy Yard Shootings

Cathy's husband and Jess' father, Jer, was killed in the shooting spree at the Navy Yard.

For the past several years, I’ve used Biscuit Break to walk the dogs while I was at work. The company is owned by Cathy Read and her daughter, Jess, usually walks the dog.* Yesterday, they got some horrible news: Cathy’s husband and Jess’ father, Jer, was killed in the shooting spree at the Navy Yard.

WaPo (“Gerald Read, victim in Navy Yard shootings, was passionate about family life and his job“):

Gerald Read left for work at 5:20 a.m. Monday, as was his normal routine. Cathy Read was just getting up as “Jer” walked out the door, and she told him: “See you tonight for dinner.”

But her husband of 35 years did not make it home.

The 58-year-old information assurance specialist with the Navy Sea Systems Command had spent much of his career in military law enforcement and information systems management, serving in South Korea and rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army.

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he served at Fort Belvoir, working with the U.S. Army Materiel Command, supervising efforts to supply and maintain ­forces deployed overseas. In recent years, he turned to civilian work at the Navy Yard, managing security risks related to information and data.

Read was passionate about his family life and his job; “totally reliable, really, really solid,” his wife said. She had no details about what had unfolded before he was killed Monday, but given his nature, she said, “I’m sure he was right in the middle of it.”

Cathy Read had texted her husband and called his office Monday. She did not begin to worry until the day passed and there was still no word. At about 9:30 or 10 p.m. Monday, officials arrived in person to deliverthe tragic news that he had been killed in the massacre.

A day after the shootings in Building 197 of the Navy Yard, she recalled her husband’s love of reading — he was a Civil War buff — and his bond with their daughter, Jessica, and his three grandchildren.

“He was a fine family man and a good friend,” said Jim Miles, his next-door neighbor. “I’m just devastated that he’s gone.”

At the Reads’ home in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, Gerald Read was often in the company of his black Lab, Roderick.

“Rod was always with him — always,” his wife said.

The Reads had been dog lovers for a long time. They worked to help rescue Labrador retrievers for more than a decade, and there are three Labs in their family in addition to an Irish setter and two cats.

Cathy Read and their daughter run a dog-walking business, Biscuit Break. Gerald Read helped with their books, taxes and Web site.

The couple met while Gerald Read was attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Army upon graduation in 1977 and served — on active duty and later in the reserves — until 2006. He earned two master’s degrees.

He was dedicated to the military, to work, to public service, his wife said. “Definitely fit the mold,” she said.

The last time Miles saw his neighbor was over the weekend with Keebler, one of the family’s Labs. Miles recalled noticing his friend out the window, walking across their adjoining front lawns, in what seemed an ordinary moment. It became a final memory.

Another report on the death concludes,

Cathy Read said she was on “autopilot” while she tries to process the news delivered to her around 9 p.m. Monday. “You just try to put it together,” she said.

That’s really all you can do. It’s a truly tragic situation, made more so by not getting a chance to say a final goodbye. Sadly, that’s often the case.

*My wife and I had two dogs when we started using the service. We subsequently lost the older dog, who needed to be put down at the ripe old age of 15. And, of course, my wife died unexpectedly almost two years ago.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    Thank you for posting this James.

  2. JohnMcC says:

    I gave you a moment’s thought while watching the TV news about the massacre, Dr Joyce. Knew your new posting wasn’t in the Naval Yard but wondered if the killing would wash up on your beach. Now I see it did and I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing and if the moment arrives, pass on to Mrs Read that prayers were said by at least one of your readers for her.

  3. Todd says:

    This story makes me sad .. perhaps hits a little close to home. (I could very easily imagine myself working in just such a place after I retire from active duty)

    I echo John’s comments above .. my sincere condolences to Mrs Reed and her daughter.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    Thanks for sharing James. I can’t honestly say I have known anyone who was the victim of gun violence – that is if your ignore the Vietnam War debacle. Unfortunately there will be thousands of more Gerald Reeds because nothing will be done to stop the vicious cycle of violence in this country. As I see it the NRA should be labeled a terrorist organization.

  5. Franklin says:

    Sorry to hear that, James. I hope the family eventually finds peace, but I expect it to be particularly difficult after such an unnecessary death.

  6. CSK says:

    My deepest sympathies. I lost a friend to murder, a prosecutor who was shot to death by/ a career criminal. It’s so hard to come to terms with something so insanely brutal and senseless.

  7. john personna says:

    Always sad when these things hit home, but:

    Study: The U.S. has had one mass shooting per month since 2009

    That says it should roll around to a lot of us, right?

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sad. Death comes to us all on quick and silent feet. Extend my sympathies.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    Study: The U.S. has had one mass shooting per month since 2009

    Hmmmmm…. What else happened in 2009? Some people say correlation is not causation but the coincidence here is too significant to ignore.

  10. john personna says:


    I don’t get what you are asking. The “one per month” thing just says that’s what tolerate.

    [ oops, sorry, I get it now … will get more coffee 😉 ]

  11. V.E.G. says:

    Gerald Eugene Read is the direct descendant of the veteran of the American Revolution! He is a guardian angel of Ulster Scot origin. A swig of Scotch to him!