U.S. Officials: Afghan Shooting Suspect Split Killing Spree

U.S. investigators now believe that rather than one single massacre, the suspect in the Afghan killings split his slaughter in half, returning to his base after the first round of killings, then venturing off base for another episode.


U.S. investigators now believe that rather than one single massacre, the suspect in the Afghan killings split his slaughter in half, returning to his base after the first round of killings, then venturing off base for another episode.

The hypothesis raises even more questions about the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians, namely how the suspect could have twice left his base unseen.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been formally charged with 17 counts of murder, as well as six counts of attempted murder, and six counts of aggravated assault and other violations of military law.

If convicted, Bales could face the death penalty.

The 38-year-old soldier allegedly gunned down nine Afghan children and eight adults as they slept in their homes in two southern villages.

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He's a mild-mannered family man who harbored no ill will towards Muslims.

He has a history of anger issues that led to an arrest for assault on a girlfriend, and told a military newspaper in 2009 that he and his fellow soldiers were proving in Iraq that there was a difference between being an American and being a bad guy.

Conflicting reports are emerging Saturday following the identification of the American soldier accused of gunning down 16 Afghan civilians on March 11. The soldier has been identified as Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. Bales was part of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, assigned to a village stability operation.

Bales' lawyer, John Henry Browne, paints a portrait of a decorated soldier with a spotless military record, whose stresses in combat had begun to take its toll.

Stunned friends and family express shock that the man they know as a kind-hearted father could be capable of the crimes he stands accused of.

But court records indicate Bales has been in trouble with the law before, citing a 2008 hit-and-run accident and a 2002 arrest for assault on a girlfriend. And though family members say they have never heard him express hostile feelings towards Muslims, an old interview suggests there may have been deeper emotions left largely unexpressed.

Bales returned to U.S. soil Friday, and is being held in a medium/minimum security prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He had been moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait Wednesday, angering Afghans who demanded to see the soldier brought to justice on their soil.

Officials say the move was necessary because Afghanistan lacked appropriate detention facilities; the move to Kuwait also allowed the U.S. to provide pretrial confinement, access to legal representation, and the ability to ensure fair and proper judicial proceedings.

Rumors of marital problems and alcohol use have swirled around Bales as pundits and various experts have attempted to rationalize the events of March 11. Browne has shot down the notion that marital strife could potentially have led to a massacre of numerous civilians, many children, choosing instead to focus on the strain of combat.

Browne says the staff sergeant, a "highly decorated" veteran of multiple Iraq tours, was reluctant to deploy to Afghanistan when he received his orders late last year, having been injured multiple times during previous deployments, including a concussion and a battle-related injury that cost him part of one foot.

The lawyer suggests the soldier may reached his breaking point just hours before the shooting rampage, when he witnessed a friend's leg blown off.

This information was provided by the family, Browne said, and has not been independently confirmed.

Bales' wife and two young, 3 and 4, have been moved onto Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state for protection. The family resides outside Tacoma, Wash., though Bales originally hales from the Midwest.

Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, said Friday he believes servicemembers are appropriately screened by the military before embarking on repeat tours.

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM
    Lock him away for life. Some broken things CANNOT be fixed, and here is a perfect example.
    • reply
      by Mr x on Mar 25, 2012 at 04:14 PM in reply to
      lock u away....better yet throw u away,,,,NO ragheads.no dot heads allowed n AMERICA. Nuke ALL the MF'S and come home! an AMERICAN said so....
  • by coolblu Location: COS on Mar 25, 2012 at 08:34 AM
    What are your feeling about paying $50,000.00 for each death, and $11,000.00 for each person wounded, What's that about? That's what's wrong with our economy now too much money going to other countries.
    • reply
      by ??? on Mar 25, 2012 at 08:40 AM in reply to coolblu
      I don't know. Maybe to stop a retaliation of soldiers not involved with this sick man's killing spree? I would think $50k isn't to much to ask for if it meant saving a life. Put down the bottle and think before you post something!
      • reply
        by coolblu on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:48 AM in reply to ???
        Really, Thanks for your input, that is what it is all about, personal comments, but do you really have to insult someone because they don't see things as you. I guess that is why we are America, free speech, and unity, have a good day!
    • reply
      by Mr x on Mar 25, 2012 at 04:21 PM in reply to coolblu
      i could care f*****g less about those MF's..killing some woman or a child is no different to me. they are both from the same breed and will do as others do..ALLAH can k*** my a**.....
  • by coolblu Location: COS on Mar 25, 2012 at 08:19 AM
    This information changes everything, if he were mentally deranged he would have hit the villages and been done, if they are right about this being a two stage attack then this was planned, then prosecuted. Not acceptable.
  • by coolblu Location: Colorado Springs, Co. on Mar 25, 2012 at 08:10 AM
    "Really" Mr x, Viet-Nam was a totally different war and time, we all as Americans know the recognition all the nam vets received, the support and care were not there as today. Don't forget to take those meds wouldn't want to hear of a Viet-Nam vet going crazy and killing fellow Americans!
    • reply
      by Mr x on Mar 25, 2012 at 04:17 PM in reply to coolblu
      As for your AH comment. i don't like humans period! so be careful when someone knocks on your door one morning about 3am! AH
  • by bannana on Mar 24, 2012 at 07:44 PM
    Where o where is mr x???
    • reply
      by mR X on Mar 25, 2012 at 04:18 PM in reply to bannana
      Iam back with vengence!
  • by Greg Location: Combat Medic on Mar 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
    I haven't really seen any constructive comments. People arguing about themselves, see plenty of that. Men go to combat and never return the same. The fact that this soldier was even allowed to do this many tours is absolutely rediculous. You think this guy really was thinking, "Yeah, I want to go to prison for the rest of my life?" hmmm, probably unlikely. I do not believe he was in control of himself, or even aware of what he was doing. The general commented that they screen soldiers carefully before they deploy...lol, what a crock of SH&#. He should be given toilet paper for his mouth. This isn't the first time the Army has allowed this to happen, charge them with murder for God's sake, they pretty much set it up. A friend of mine was able to convince an Army board to let him deploy when he had so many mental issues. Two months in Iraq and he killed himself. He had a good life waiting for him at home, a wife, and 2 year-old son. The Army essentially killed him, where does it stop?
    • reply
      by @ greg on Mar 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM in reply to Greg
      How did the Army essentially kill your friend if he convinced the board he was good to deploy? Sounds like your friend manipulated the situation and system to go again with how you worded your response.
      • reply
        by Greg on Mar 23, 2012 at 08:40 PM in reply to @ greg
        I say that because in his mind he believed he was okay, when really he was incompetent of making his own decisions. A mental eval would have been standard procedure, as it is strictly enforced now because of his death. The fact this soldier Bales was forced to go on yet another deployment after a severe concussion and losing part of his foot is completely crazy. They pulled me from my third deployment because any more concussions could possibly kill me. I have seen many cases such as this soldier's. Most of the time they will make them non-deploy and allow them to work in garrison with a possible future medical discharge. Of course the Army had to protect their political agenda in Afghanistan by crucifying Bales.
  • by americangurl Location: cosprgs on Mar 22, 2012 at 08:47 PM
    It is so sad to see everyone fighting on here about something that has happened overseas (with the men and women serving this country). No wonder America is no longer trusted...we can't trust each other any more. I am sooo tired of people's political view of everything. We all can not know why this shooting happened...everyone quit argueing and wait to hear the details!!!
  • by Realist on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:12 AM
    I think people have forgotten what they die to us on 9/11. We may not be an eye for an eye but they sure are and that's all they low. It's sad that he killed children. But he did it, not the army as a whole.
    • reply
      by Epic Fail on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:17 AM in reply to Realist
      No one from Afghanistan was on that plane. Even bin Laden was from Saudi. The money to fund that terrorist act was from Saudi. So the killing women and children is not justifiable.
      • reply
        by Uh, on Mar 19, 2012 at 05:29 AM in reply to Epic Fail
        they where originally from Saudi...BUT, they where no longer "living" there (Bin Laden was thrown out) and where Al Quad a operatives from Afghanistan. The Taliban government was letting them operate in Afghanistan.
    • reply
      by goodgrief on Mar 19, 2012 at 06:07 AM in reply to Realist
      Bin Laden was not wanted for 9/11 attacks by the FBI due to lack of evidence. Golly! Doesn't that tell you something? But here in Anerica anyone we want to kill was involved in that attack that day. As long as they look different from us, of course.
  • by Semper Fi on Mar 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM
    Well Gunny... Fact is, I'm not a fake. I served Honorably. We live every day on the sacrifices made by people who came before us. I never said I condon what he did or agree with it. Just been in a place where I too have suffered the loss and felt the anger. I will not presume to know who you are Gunny or where you have served or your mental state of mind. But I will say on 9/11 the targets were noncombatants. They were men and women civilians. don't assume you know me or where I served or my mental state of mind. We can agree to disagree. Semper Fi Gunny and Thank you for your service.
    • reply
      by Epic Fail on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:13 AM in reply to Semper Fi
      20 years of service and it still surprises me that others that served could say these things. We lived by a code of conduct. We served with an understanding that we hold ourselves to a higher standard. 9/11 was carried out by men from Egypt, Saudi, UAE and Lebanon. Not women and children from Afghanistan. Soldiers don't kill what is convenient no matter the hardship.
  • by Mr X Location: se co Spgs on Mar 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM
    Hello to ALL my Attention Seekers and to KKTV. A big Ty for reading n responding to my comments, I will be gone for awhile. I wish you ALL the best and a beautiful summer. Farewell
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