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The Army plans to reinvestigate a 2007 murder-suicide it originally concluded was 'friendly fire'
The Army has reopened an investigation into the 2007 death of Spc. Kamisha Block, which was originally blamed on friendly fire but has since come under heavy scrutiny.
Block's family was originally told the 20-year-old soldier, a member of the 401st Military Police Company, was killed while deployed to Iraq after one gunshot to the chest. But when her body arrived in Texas, there were "five gunshot wounds, including one to the head," according to Stars and Stripes, which first reported the Army was reopening the case.
The family learned that she had been shot by her boyfriend, Staff Sgt. Paul Brandon Norris, Stars and Stripes reports, who killed himself immediately after killing Block. The relationship between the two was not allowed, given Norris' higher rank and that he was still legally married, though going through a divorce at the time.
A friend of Block's, former sergeant with the 57th Military Police Company James Rattigan, told Stars and Stripes that Norris "never beat her per se," but that he was physical. Another sergeant in Block's platoon, David Womack, described Norris as "very aggressive, very quick to scream and yell and get how about stuff that was not that big of a deal."
Rattigan said he told Block's platoon sergeant about the "volatile situation" between Block and Norris, though he reportedly didn't know anything about it.
Three days later, Norris went into Block's room and "ordered her roommate to leave." He then shot Block, and turned to point the gun at her roommate who had opened the door upon hearing gunshots, and shot himself. Womack told Stars and Stripes that in the days following the shooting, it was "eerie how little it was discussed."
Documents obtained by the Block family through a Freedom of Information Act request show that leadership in the platoon knew about a "perceived" relationship between Block and Norris.
A childhood friend of Block's who also joined the Army, Amanda Simmons, said she grew more suspicious about her friend's murder after she spoke a medic who had tried to help Block. The medic "described cutting Block's bulletproof vest from her body," but Simmons knew that had Block been wearing a bulletproof vest, some of her wounds may have been avoided.
"I said, 'Don't lie to me,'" Simmons told Stars and Stripes. "I said, 'I went to her funeral and spoke to her family. Don't disrespect me and don't disrespect her.' It was very awkward."
Chris Grey, spokesman for Army Criminal Investigation Command, told Task & Purpose that the investigation into Block's death was reopened in August 2018. He declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.
Block's sister, Shonta Block, started digging into her sister's case two years ago. She said she wants Army leadership "court-martialed" for failing to stop her sister's murder.
"I want them to have to pay for the decisions they made that hurt other people," she told Stars and Stripes. "And not just my sister, but other women and other soldiers."
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year
The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.