U.S. soldier charged with murder in Iraq shooting deaths

24May09

US Marineoriginally published: 12th May 2009

The U.S. soldier who authorities say killed five fellow troops — including a Navy commander — at a stress clinic in Iraq on Monday apparently used a weapon he wrested away from another soldier, a Defense official said.

After getting the weapon, the soldier stole a military vehicle and drove to the clinic, where earlier he had been in a fight, the official said.

The shooter was identified as Army Sgt. John M. Russell, according to Maj. Gen. David Perkins, the military spokesman who briefed reporters in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday.

Russell has been charged with five counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault after the shooting at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad’s international airport, Perkins added.

A 44-year-old communications specialist from Sherman, Texas, Russell is serving his third tour in Iraq and has previously deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo, according to his service record.

His father, Wilburn Russell, also of Sherman, said Russell had e-mailed his wife saying he believed unidentified officers were trying to run him out of the military.

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