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Military Says No One Arrested in Shooting

June 18, 1987

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ U.S. and Honduran officials are investigating the shooting death of an American soldier at a Honduran air base and have yet to make an arrest, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

″There is no suspect at this time. Nobody is in custody, and when it happens, they would be in the custody of the Hondurans,″ said Air Force Capt. Ron Eschmann, U.S. military press officer at Palmerola Air Base.

On Saturday night, Staff Sgt. Randall Harris was shot to death at the base 36 miles north of here.

On Tuesday, Lt. Col. James Lawson, a spokesman at Fort Bliss, Texas, said U.S. authorities were holding a suspect in the slaying.

Asked about the conflicting report, Eschmann said, ″I have no idea where they got that information.″

He said investigators are treating the shooting ″as a criminal homicide and not as a terrorist act.″

Harris, the U.S. military police superviser at the base, was shot once in each leg and once in the back about 400 yards from the base’s main gate, Eschmann said.

An autopsy being performe in Panama was expected to determine what type of weapon was used in the slaying, Eschmann said.

Harris was with the 978th Military Police Company from Fort Bliss, which is serving a four-month tour at Palmerola. The United States uses part of the base under an agreement with the Honduran government.

On Monday, Harris’s mother, Delphernine Harris of Wilmington, Ohio, said her son’s commanding officer had called her from El Paso and told her ″they feel like it was a Honduran civilian that shot him.″

However, she said it will probably be a week to 10 days before more details are released about the case.

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