Friendly Fire, AKA Murder

Cooper.jpg Sgt. David Cooper

A Fort Lewis tank soldier has been charged with murdering his Fort Lewis platoon sergeant in Iraq, the News Tribune reports today. It may be a case of friendly fire, or non-hostile fire - the latter is similar to a friendly fire death but takes place in non-combat situations.

Details were sketchy, but the Trib says that while tanker Cpl. Timothy Ayers, 21, is accused in the Sept. 5 Baghdad pistol-shooting of Sgt. 1st Class David A. Cooper Jr., 36, the death was not thought to be premeditated or intentional, and is classified as a "suspected negligent discharge."

Fatal accidental discharges are hardly uncommon in war zones. Among those we've written about was Capt. James Shull of Kirkland. He was accidentally killed in 2003, on routine patrol in Baghdad, when one of his men tossed a rifle into the back of a Humvee and the M-16 discharged. Shull, 32, married with three children, was killed instantly.

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