Deputy shoots 2
soldiers, killing 1
MSNBC STAFF AND
Dept: Deputy thought they were going to kill him
Feb. 24 — A sheriff’s deputy shot two Fort Bragg soldiers, killing one,
after the two soldiers, both in civilian clothing, tried to disarm the deputy
because they thought he was taking part in a role-playing training exercise,
authorities said Sunday. The Moore County Sheriff’s Department said the deputy
was “totally unaware” of the exercise.
were taking part in a role-playing exercise that is part of the Special Forces
Qualification Course, according to a statement from the Moore County Sheriff’s
Department. They were carrying weapons, but they do not carry live ammunition
during the exercise, Maj. Richard Patterson of the John F. Kennedy Special
Warfare Center and School told The Fayetteville Observer.
two soldiers were not in uniform. For various scenarios within the exercise,
that’s not uncommon,” said a Special Forces spokesman. “They were going
out to do reconnaissance of a target that was going to be used for a future
mission in the exercise,” the spokesman said.
reported that the soldiers were in a vehicle that was stopped by Deputy Randall
Butler on a rural road northwest of Robbins on Saturday afternoon. Robbins is
about 25 miles from the Fort Bragg reservation.
“One of the
soldiers attempted to disarm the officer as the other was attempting to get a
military weapon that the soldiers had in their possession,” a statement from
the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said. “The deputy believed that the two
individuals intended on killing him.”
The Army said
in a news release Sunday evening that the incident was a mistake. Civilians and
authorities are often asked to assist in the training exercises, said Special
Operations spokesman Major Gary Kolb.
Kolb said the
soldiers were carrying a disassembled M-4 carbine rifle in a bag. It was unclear
why Butler pulled their car over.
County Sheriff’s Office was told a training exercise was underway, Kolb said.
But he said the Army did not coordinate specifically with the sheriff’s office
and Butler was likely unaware of it.
instance, they were not informed about this, because the scenario itself was not
intended to draw attention of the local authorities,” Kolb said.
In its release, the sheriff’s
department said Butler was “totally unaware” of the exercise.
No charges had been filed Sunday.
Butler was placed on administrative leave with pay.
were in a vehicle driven by a civilian who was playing the role of a resident of
a fictitious country, Patterson said. He wouldn’t discuss further details of
the incident because it was being investigated by the State Bureau of
Investigation and the Army.
was definitely a misunderstanding, but we’re still looking at the procedures
and actions taken. We can’t lay blame on anyone right now,” said the Special
known as “Robin Sage,” is the 19-day final exam of the Special Forces
Qualification Course. It tests skills in survival, tactics and dealing with
people, as well as judgment, decision-making and ethics.
Robin Sage sessions, law enforcement officials have helped the military by
setting up road blocks. There was no immediate indication whether Butler was
helping with Saturday’s exercise.
the names of the dead and wounded soldiers wouldn’t be released until their
relatives were notified.
soldier was listed in serious condition at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital
in Pinehurst, according to the sheriff’s department.
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