Wednesday, March 21, 2012

US Army Names Suspect in Massacre of Afghanistan Villagers

US officials have identified a US Army sargeant from Joint Base Lewis McChord who turned himself in after allegedly massacring nearby Afghan villagers in the early morning hours of March 11.
The shooting took place at 3 a.m. in two villages in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, a hotbed for the Taliban insurgency against U.S. forces. The two villages are a short walk away from the U.S. base where the soldier was stationed.

Photos from the scene show blood-splattered floors and walls inside a villager's home, one of three believed to have been attacked, and blood-soaked bodies of victims, including the elderly and young children, wrapped in blankets and placed in the backseat of a van.

Some of the bodies appear to have been burned, and some witnesses said the soldier set fire to some of his victims after shooting them.
The shooter reportedly left the base heavily armed and with night-vision equipment while dressed up in traditional Afghan clothing over his US Army battle dress uniform. A headcount was taken and the assailant was discovered missing at that time. While other soldiers from the outpost were searching nearby for the AWOL assailant, he had returned to the base to turn himself in.

Although some Afghan officials insist that the shooter couldn't have possibly acted alone, a number of witnesses that night reported seeing just one assailant.

A few days later the shooter was flown out of Afghanistan to Ft. Leavenworth, KS by way of Kuwait last week Army officials identified him as Staff Sgt Robert Bales.

In addition to military attorneys, Bales will reportedly be represented by Seattle-based defense attorney John Henry Browne, who's previous clients have included Ted Bundy.

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