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Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales named as suspect in Afghan civilian massacre

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
Photo credit: Spc. Ryan Hallock, 28th Public Affairs/U.S. Army

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was named Friday as the suspect in a nighttime shooting rampage that left 16 Afghan civilians dead, including nine children, a U.S. official confirmed.

A spokesperson for Bales' attorney said the 38-year-old father of two was being taken to a maximum-security military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, the L.A. Times reports.

Bales, who has been in the Army for 11 years and was deployed to Iraq three times prior to this deployment, is attached to the 2nd Infantry Division’s 3rd Stryker Brigade, based in Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

According to his attorney, John Henry Browne, the suspect's family was shocked by the news. "He's never said anything antagonistic about Muslims, he's never said anything about Middle Eastern individuals. He has in general been very mild-mannered," said Browne, adding, "He received almost every award you can get as a combat veteran." 

Browne, the lawyer who defended serial killer Ted Bundy, suggested briefly in an interview with CNN that he may put the war itself on trial if his client is ever charged in military court.