The Lookout

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales named as suspect in Afghanistan massacre

The Lookout

View photo

.
Military sources late Friday identified Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales as the 38-year-old suspect accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in a Sunday rampage. Bales has not yet been charged in the case. He was flown to the U.S. military maximum security prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., from Kuwait on Friday.

"I can confirm" the name of the suspect is Robert Bales, a U.S. official told Yahoo News on condition of anonymity.

Bales' Seattle-area celebrity lawyer, John Henry Browne, said Friday that his client is in shock.

"He is in shock, kind of like a deer in headlights at the moment," Browne said Friday morning, a local station near Joint Base Lewis-McChord King 5 News, reported. "I told him not to talk about the allegations at all, so I cannot tell you how he is responding because I told him not to talk about it."

Browne earlier told reporters at a news conference Thursday that the decorated soldier wasn't happy that he had been deployed a fourth time despite sustaining two injuries, including a traumatic head injury and the partial loss of his foot in Iraq. Browne dismissed rumors that the soldier had marital troubles, and said he had two young children.


"He did not want to deploy," Browne told the Seattle Times. "In fact he was told he was not going to go. Then, really almost overnight, that changed." Browne told the paper that a soldier in his unit had lost a leg in combat the day before the alleged shooting.

The New York Times quoted a "senior" American official saying the soldier had been drinking before the alleged shooting."When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues — he just snapped," the anonymous official told the paper.

The soldier was one of 4,000 soldiers in the 3rd (Stryker) Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division stationed at Lewis-McChord in Washington state. The base's medical center is being investigated for allegedly down-grading post traumatic stress diagnoses to other mental illnesses that do not prevent deployment or qualify soldiers for disability payments.

Laura Rozen contributed reporting.

More popular Yahoo! News stories:

Karzai slams U.S. as lead suspect in Afghanistan massacre flown to Fort Leavenworth

Panetta safe after attempted attack at Afghanistan airport

Assad's inbox: Alleged emails give glimpse of dictator's, wife's inner world

Iran banks booted from SWIFT global financial network

Want more of our best national security stories? Visit The Envoy or connect with us on Facebook or on Twitter.

Want more of our best political stories? Visit The Ticket or connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or add us on Tumblr. Handy with a camera? Join our Election 2012 Flickr group to submit your photos of the campaign in action.

View Comments