By Chris May
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As new details emerge about the soldier accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, there is talk that he may have been dealing with a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues.
Those details are now being denied by the soldier’s lawyer, but what is clear is that the alleged gunman was exposed to the stress of multiple deployments.
A day before the Army sergeant allegedly went on his shooting rampage, he witnessed a fellow soldier’s leg get blown off, according to his lawyer.
“At this small base that he was at, somebody was gravely injured the day before this incident, which affected all the soldiers there,” said the soldier’s attorney John Henry Browne.
Browne denied reports his client suffered from alcohol and marital issues.
“There’s certainly no marital discord in this family at all,” said the attorney.
But he admitted the 38-year-old was reluctant about a fourth and unexpected deployment.
University of Pennsylvania psychologist Dr. Edna Foa works with soldiers returning from multiple tours of duty.
“We see here a case of a person who has seen deployment in Iraq, and now this is his fourth deployment in Afghanistan, and something happened and he is not able to regulate his emotions, his anger, his frustration for so many traumas he has seen throughout his deployment,” said Foa.
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons spoke to us about the tragedy after attending a Saint Patrick’s Day mass in Wilmington.
“This is another in a series of difficult incidents that highlight the strains and the stresses of a decade-long war and the challenges we face going forward,” said the senator.
Challenges that include the effects the war has on soldiers who are returning to combat time after time.
“We do know as the number of deployments goes up for any individual, the probability that they will have PTSD is larger, the probability they will attempt or commit suicide is greater, and the probability they will have other kind of distress or alcohol abuse and depression also goes up,” said Foa.
The soldier was injured twice in Iraq before he was deployed to Afghanistan.
He was determined to be fit for duty.
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