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Report: Slain Ft. Bragg officer was soldier's battalion commander

June 29, 2012|By David Zucchino
  • Army investigators work the scene of a fatal shooting at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Army investigators work the scene of a fatal shooting at Fort Bragg, N.C. (Drew Brooks, The Fayetteville…)

The officer shot and killed by a soldier at Ft. Bragg, N.C., Thursday afternoon was the shooting suspect's  battalion commander, according to two network TV reports that cited unnamed Pentagon officials.

NBC News and CNN reported that the suspect, who Ft. Bragg officials said turned his weapon on himself after shooting the officer, was not expected to survive his wounds. The soldier was in critical condition, according to a statement released by Ft. Bragg officials Friday afternoon.

Col. Kevin Arata, public affairs officer for Ft. Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps, declined to comment on the network reports. He said information cited in the reports did not come from Ft. Bragg officials.

Neither the suspect nor the victim has been identified. A soldier who was near the safety briefing where the shooting took place was slightly injured, Arata said.

The shooting suspect, a specialist, was facing a court-martial on suspicion of stealing a toolbox worth nearly $2,000 from a base motor pool, the networks reported. They said the specialist had served on the battalion commander’s security detail in Afghanistan.

In the statement released Friday,  Ft. Bragg officials said Spec. Michael E. Latham, 21, of Vacaville, Calif.,  was released from a Ft. Bragg hospital after treatment  for "a minor, non-life threatening wound’’ suffered during the shooting.

The statement said the names of the suspect and the victim were being withheld pending notification of family members.

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david.zucchino@latimes.com

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