MED for DEPRESSION: 5 Dead at Baghdad Psychiatric Center: May 11th: Ir…

Paragraphs 8 through 10 read: “Russell went to the combat stress center at Camp Liberty where mental-health workers evaluate soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Russell was close to the end of his deployment. He was given medication and his sidearm was taken away, a routine precaution for soldiers receiving counseling.”

“On May 11, after a dispute at the center, Russell was ordered to leave. Outside, he allegedly grabbed a gun from his escort, burst into the center and started firing. He submitted to arrest minutes later.”

Dead were Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, 52, of Wilmington, N.C.; Maj. Matthew Philip Houseal, 54, of Amarillo; Staff Sgt. Christian Enrique Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J.; Spc. Jacob David Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo., and Pfc. Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg, Md.

http://www.amarillo.com/stories/072809/new_news8.shtml

Web-posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Soldiers’ families await hearing
Los Angeles Times

SHERMAN – Tears come to Elizabeth Russell’s eyes when she thinks of the five American soldiers her son is accused of gunning down in a moment of rage in Iraq.

She prays for them: the Navy officer, the Army psychiatrist, and three enlisted men, and their widows, parents and children.

She also prays for her son, Army Sgt. John Russell, who faces five counts of premeditated murder for what happened May 11 at a combat stress center near Baghdad.

Russell, 44, is in custody in Kuwait, awaiting an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing. Under military law, a conviction can carry a death sentence; the minimum is life in prison.

In more than seven years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, there have been cases of alleged attacks among U.S. troops, but never one in which a soldier stands accused of killing five colleagues.

The Russell case also brings up issues of how the Army evaluates the mental health of troops in combat zones, many of whom, like Russell, have endured repeated deployments. The Army is now studying the psychological services available to soldiers in Iraq.

Russell had been a competent communications technician but hardly a stellar performer. After 16 years, he was still a sergeant. He had lost a stripe earlier for unauthorized absence.

Russell went to the combat stress center at Camp Liberty where mental-health workers evaluate soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Russell was close to the end of his deployment. He was given medication and his sidearm was taken away, a routine precaution for soldiers receiving counseling.

On May 11, after a dispute at the center, Russell was ordered to leave. Outside, he allegedly grabbed a gun from his escort, burst into the center and started firing. He submitted to arrest minutes later.

Dead were Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, 52, of Wilmington, N.C.; Maj. Matthew Philip Houseal, 54, of Amarillo; Staff Sgt. Christian Enrique Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J.; Spc. Jacob David Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo., and Pfc. Michael Edward Yates Jr., 19, of Federalsburg, Md.