A decorated lieutenant colonel and an accomplished patent lawyer. They were two exceptional people whose lives were cut short.
Shannon Beebe and his girlfriend Elizabeth Pignatello were killed Sunday afternoon when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed at the Warrenton Air Park, bursting into flames.
Beebe, a graduate of the prestigious military academy at West Point, parlayed his sterling military career into becoming one of the most recognized authorities on Africa within the Department of Defense.
Beebe, who focused on human security, put his knowledge to work most recently in Angola, where he served as assistant Army attach.
He's a published author, been featured on National Geographic and served as an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He was 42.
Raymond Gilpin was shocked to hear that his friend had passed away.
"He really had a very big heart, he focused a lot on humanitarian work across the African continent a lot of his flying on the continent was related to humanitarian work," Gilpin said.
Pignatello, a patent attorney with her own practice, was a mother of two and described by neighbors as a vivacious, beautiful soul. She had been dating Beebe for a little over a year and both lived in Alexandria.
"She was just a very loving mother she was just a wonderful person," said Kathy Langley, a neighbor. "She was just a lot of fun to be around she just seemed to be loving life right now."