U.S. officials have identified the suspect involved in the killing of Afghan civilians as Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, and they have confirmed that he is being held in pre-trial confinement at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
The soldier is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday. According to The AP via The News Tribune, he was part of Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
He's being held at the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility in Fort Leavenworth, KS, a state-of-the-art, medium/minimum custody facility. It provides pre-trial confinement and post-trial confinement for U.S. military inmates sentenced to up to five years of confinement, according to the Army.
Bales will be in special housing in his own cell and not in a four-person bay. He will be afforded time outside the cell for hygiene and recreational purposes as governed by Army Regulation 190-47. He will be afforded religious support, if desired.
The JRCF has a 464-bed capacity, but it is not possible to provide the number of current inmates as it is ever-changing. However, the number of inmates in pre-trial confinement is typically around one dozen, according to the Army.
Earlier this week, officials said Bales was trained as a sniper and had suffered a head injury.
The Seattle Times is reporting that a Seattle lawyer who has talked with Bales said the veteran soldier didn't want to deploy to Afghanistan after tours in Iraq and that he had been showing signs of stress.
UPDATE: Pierce County records show that Bales and his wife, Karilyn, own a home in Lake Tapps, which they purchased in 2005 for $280,000. The family reportedly has two children. Since the killings occurred, officials have moved his family on base.
Bales, 38, reportedly has a history with the local court system, according to the newspaper.
Stuart Ness, a Vietnam veteran who lives down the street from Bales, stood on the street near the house and a gathering of television news trucks and reporters. He said he came out to show support to the Bales family.
"Something terrible has happened and all hell has come down on this poor guy," he said.
Ness said few people have served in the military and fewer still understand combat. He said Bales reported multiple combat tours might have put him in a "survival" instinct mode and that maybe lines started to blur.
"No one in their right mind would do what he did."
Paul Wohlberg, a next-door neighbor, said the Bales family moved into the three-story home in the relatively upscale neighborhood five or six years ago. He described the Bales family as "private" and said he would go weeks not seeing any family members.
Bales' work made it necessary for him to pull some late nights. "They work hard, those guys," he said. "I feel sorry for them."
When asked by reporters if he was aware if Bales faced any domestic or financial problems, Wohlberg said he never saw any indication there was anything wrong. His daughter's kids were about the same age as Bales' two children, he said. "I can't believe Bob's the guy who did that."
Wohlberg noted there had been a "For Sale" sign on the house but recently it had been taken down. The last time he saw Bales was just before the soldier's recent deployment to Afghanistan. Wohlberg said he told the 38-year-old to be safe. Bales said, "No problem. I will," according to Wohlberg.
"He's a good guy," Wohlberg said. "He got put in the wrong place at the wrong time."
According to MSNBC, neighbors asked Friday about Bales said they were shocked:
Kassie Holland, who lives next door, said she would often see Bales playing with his two kids and the family together at the modern split-level home.
"My reaction is that I'm shocked," she said. "I can't believe it was him. There were no signs. It's really sad. I don't want to believe that he did it."
"He always had a good attitude about being in the service. He was never really angry about it. When I heard him talk, he said, it seemed like, 'yeah, that's my job. That's what I do.' He never expressed a lot of emotion toward it."
Who is Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales?
Here is his service data provided by the Army as of Friday:
Name: Robert Bales
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Date of Rank: April 1, 2008
MOS: 11B (Infantry)
Duty Status: Active
Basic Active Service Date (Enlistment Date): Nov. 8, 2001
Assignment History: 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Sept 11, 2002 -- Present)
Military Education/Year Completed:
· Combat Life Savers Course 2002
· Warrior Leaders Course 2008
· Sniper 2008
· Visual Tracker 2008
· Combatives Level 1 2010
· Combatives Level 2 2010
· U.S. Air Force Airlift Planner 2010
· Advance Leaders Course (ALC) 2010
Civilian Education/Year Completed: Associate Degree (2 Yr College) 1992
Home of Record: Jensen Beach, Fla.
Deployment History/Time Frame:
· Operation Iraqi Freedom (12 Months) / Nov. 1, 2003 - Oct. 1, 2004
· Operation Iraqi Freedom (15 Months) / June 19, 2006 - Sept. 22, 2007
· Operation Iraqi Freedom (10 Months) / Aug. 8, 2009 - June 4, 2010
· Operation Enduring Freedom / Dec. 1, 2011 - March 2012
Awards and Decorations:
· Army Good Conduct Medal (Three awarded)
· Iraq Campaign Medal Campaign Star (Two awarded)
· National Defense Service Medal
· Overseas Service Ribbon
· Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
· Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
· Combat Infantry Badge
· Expert Infantry Badge
· Army Commendation Medal (Six awarded)
· Army Achievement Medal
· Meritorious Unit Commendation (Two awarded)
· Army Superior Unit Award
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