Soldier who killed Iraqi girl in 2004 discharged; no criminal
By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer
-- -- The Army has discharged
without criminal charges a Schofield Barracks soldier who was
involved in the 2004 killing of a 13-year-old girl and wounding
of her sister and mother in Iraq.
A criminal investigation was opened and evidence was reviewed
before the decision by Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, the
commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division, to approve the
discharge of Sgt. Jeffrey D. Waruch, 28, officials said.
"In this case, a review of the investigation determined that no
further evidence was likely to be found that would result in the
case going to trial," Schofield Barracks said in a statement.
The investigation found that Waruch, who was with the 1st
Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, did not act in a negligent or
unlawful manner in the Feb. 18, 2004 shootings and that there
was insufficient evidence to prosecute, the Army said.
The news is troubling for Edward Richmond Sr., the father of
another Schofield Barracks soldier.
The Louisiana man's son, Edward Richmond Jr., is serving a
three-year sentence in the military stockade at Fort Sill,
Okla., for shooting an Iraqi cowherd 10 days after the girl's
A criminal investigation of the shooting that Richmond was
involved in started immediately after the incident, according to
the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. Army criminal investigators did
not begin a formal investigation of the earlier incident until
more than a year after the shootings.
Edward Richmond Sr. said this week that he doesn't know why
criminal proceedings were initiated at different times.
"I wish I could look (the battalion commander) dead in the eyes
and be standing face to face, and I'd ask him that myself,"
Richmond Sr. said. "That's a question I've had the whole time."
He suggested, however, that his son was cast, in part, as a
scapegoat "because the villagers were mad as hell because the
second incident happened." Richmond Sr. noted that the mother
and two daughters shot were family of the tribal elders in the
In that case, as the three ran from a roadside bomb attack on a
U.S. convoy, 13-year-old Intisar Saleh was shot in the head from
a distance of about 200 feet. Her mother was hit and lost a leg,
and Intisar's 15-year-old sister was shot in the leg.
Waruch said in a statement that he shot the three Iraqis after
they ignored repeated warnings in English and Arabic to stop,
suspicious movements were made, and one appeared to have
"something long" that he believed could have been a weapon.
A review conducted by Maj. Samuel Schubert found that two in the
group of fleeing civilians were surrendering, and that Waruch
fired at one of the females because the civilians made "sudden
Schubert said in his report: "Under these facts, the soldier's
certainty that he was about to be fired upon was not
reasonable," and there was no weapon. He added, "The soldier did
not observe hostile intent.
"The engagement was not in" accordance with rules of engagement,
Schubert noted, underlining the word "not."
Schubert also said it was "important to note" that the soldiers
were new to the theater and were reacting to one of their first
The Dayton Daily News reported that the family of the slain
Iraqi girl agreed on Jan. 24 to meet with military criminal
investigators. Waruch was discharged three days later.
Although Waruch was allowed to leave the Army, if additional
evidence comes to light, he can be tried by the Department of
Justice under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act,
the Army said.
On Feb. 28, 2004, Waruch was the only other soldier present when
then 20-year-old Pfc. Edward Richmond Jr. shot Iraqi cowherd
Muhamad Husain Kadir in the back of the head as Waruch
handcuffed the man. Richmond Jr. has said he shot the Iraqi when
the man lunged at Waruch.
Photographs showed the dead man with his hands flex-cuffed
behind his back.
Waruch had told Richmond to "put the gun on his head and shoot
him" if he moved, according to an appeal filed in the case.
Richmond's father said his son did what he was supposed to do as
In August 2004 Richmond Jr. was convicted of voluntary
manslaughter. A clemency hearing is scheduled for April 6.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Reach William Cole at email@example.com.
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