SAN DIEGO — The Navy SEAL who raised nearly $750,000 from a community of supporters to successfully fight war crimes charges in a San Diego court-martial is again asking for the public's help for one more round with the Navy.
Chief Eddie Gallagher, through an attorney, is asking the public to help him persuade a Navy admiral to reduce his jury-imposed punishment for posing with the body of a dead Islamic State fighter in 2017.
Specifically, he's looking for other service members who have received punishment for taking photos with dead enemy combatants — and received a lesser sentence.
The war crimes charges against a San Diego-based Navy SEAL will stand, a Navy judge ruled Friday.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward R. Gallagher is facing charges that he killed a wounded teenage ISIS fighter brought to the SEAL's Mosul, Iraq compound for medical treatment in 2017. Gallagher also is accused of shooting at civilians, posing for photos with a corpse and holding his reenlistment ceremony next to the body, according to court documents and prosecutor statements.
Gallagher has denied all the charges and pleaded not guilty.
Oscar Stewart, a 51-year-old Iraq War veteran, was standing at the back of the room when shots rang out during a Torah reading service at the Chabad of Poway on Saturday. His actions, described by San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore as an "act of courage," resulted in the shooter fleeing the scene before more damage was done.
At about 11:20 a.m., a 19-year-old man armed with an AR-15-style rifle entered the synagogue where worshipers had gathered for the end of Passover. He started shooting.
Before it was over, four people had been injured — one fatally — in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime.
According to Stewart, when the shooting began, most of the congregation got up and started to run to safety. But, for reasons he could not explain, Stewart ran the other way — toward the gunfire.
A Navy SEAL awaiting trial for alleged war crimes in Iraq in 2017 also is being investigated in the shooting death of an Afghan civilian in 2010, according to his defense attorney, who complained to the judge about the investigation last week.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to modify its electronic systems and lacked an accountable official to oversee implementation of the "Forever GI Bill," resulting in a bungled rollout last year that affected thousands of college students, a new report from the agency's Inspector General says.
A squadron of the U.S. Navy's newest fighters is aircraft carrier-qualified and ready to deploy, the Navy said Thursday. The announcement is a milestone for the Pentagon's trillion-dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter weapons program.