Staff Sgt. Robert Bales Identified as Shooter in Afghanistan Rampage


The man charged with shooting and killing 16 Afghan civilians has been identified as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Although Bales has been brought back to the U.S., where he is currently being held in pre-trial detention, his military court proceedings could take place in Afghanistan. The Afghan government has demanded he face trial there. If convicted, Bales may face the death penalty.

While there was some speculation that Bales' violent actions were the result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), he reportedly received advanced TBI treatment at Fort Lewis and was cleared for combat. In 2008, Bales also passed the necessary mental health screening to become a sniper. Friends and fellow soldiers deny that he displayed anti-Muslim tendencies.

There is still little insight into the motivation behind the killings. Bales' lawyer John Henry Browne said that Bales and other member's of his camp were upset when one of their own was "gravely injured" the day before the incident. Although Browne has had a phone conversation with Bales, he cannot speak to his client's state of mind.

[Image via AP]