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Comrade killed soldier with rocket launcher, victim's mother says

The Army is pursing manslaughter charges against a soldier in connection with the January death of a comrade in Afghanistan.

The Army initially said Pfc. Neil Turner, 21, of Tacoma, Wash., was killed in a “training accident.” 

But according to Turner’s mother, who obtained investigative reports from witnesses, her son was killed when Spc. Francisco Perez fired an armor-penetrating rocket inside Combat Outpost Kherwar in Afghanistan’s Logar province on Jan. 11. The rocket did not detonate but pierced Turner's chest, she said.


Charlotte Cox-Turner told The News Tribune of Tacoma that Perez had been chastised in the past for "horseplay" with weapons that he was in charge of storing at the base.

Perez, who is accused of negligent homicide and failing to obey an order to separate loaded weapons from unloaded ones, is expected to appear at court-martial proceedings next month, according to the newspaper. 

Two other soldiers were injured in the incident, Cox-Turner said.

“Neil’s death was totally wasteful and incomprehensible,” Cox-Turner told The News Tribune.

A spokesman for the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, where Perez is stationed, was not immediately available for comment. 

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