Wounded U.S. Soldier Shot Himself
SCHWEINFURT, Germany (AP) _ A U.S. soldier hospitalized in Germany with gunshot wounds to his left hand and leg has admitted he shot himself in frustration over his army career, police said Friday.
The 26-year-old private first class initially told police he was attacked by an unknown assailant early Monday in a parking lot near his barracks in Schweinfurt, 60 miles east of Frankfurt.
German authorities put 17 officers on the case and offered a $5,400 reward for clues.
``In a third round of questioning he finally admitted that he had shot himself,″ police investigator Heinz Henneberger said.
Police said the man told them where to find his pistol, which he had thrown in a nearby bush. Four cartridges found at the scene matched the pistol, which was the soldier’s private weapon, not army issue, police said.
The soldier, whose name was not released by authorities, is assigned to the 15,000-strong 1st Infantry Division. Some of the troops are being sent to the Persian Gulf region in preparation for a possible war against Iraq, but the soldier’s unit is not among them.
The soldier, listed in stable condition, had a history of depression and talked to police of trying to kill himself, but it was unclear whether that was his intention Monday, Schweinfurt police chief Juergen Karl said.
``He said he was unhappy because he had not been successful _ he did not get where he wanted to be in his career,″ he said. ``We all have dreams in life and he had simply not fulfilled his.″
The U.S. military refused to comment, saying its investigation is still under way.
Police said the soldier could be charged under German law with lying about a crime, but only if the Army does not press its own charges.
The Germans have closed their investigation and are awaiting the results of the U.S. inquiry.