Fort Carson Solider Convicted of Negligent Homicide in Somalia Shooting
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ A Fort Carson soldier has been convicted by court-martial of negligent homicide for the shooting death of a civilian in Somalia during the international relief operation.
Spc. James Mowris, 26, was convicted Thursday of shooting Ahmed Asir in the back with an M-16 rifle Feb. 14.
A panel of three officers and four non-commissioned officers deliberated a little more than an hour on the second day of Mowris’s trial.
The panel turned aside a more severe charge of involuntary manslaughter, which could have carried a maximum three-year prison term. It ordered Mowris reduced in rank by one grade to E-3 and restricted to base for three months, and ordered him to forfeit $150 per month for three months.
Mowris, a member of the 984th Military Police Company from Fort Carson, was shipped to Somalia in January as part of the U.N.-led relief effort.
Mowris’ unit went to a village where gunmen were believed to have stashed weapons.
Two men ran from the soldiers and Mowris and two others chased one of the men. Mowris said he fired a warning shot, but deliberately aimed low, to the left and 10 yards behind the fleeing man, who was turning to the right.
″My shot could not possibly have hit Mr. Asir,″ Mowris said.
The bullet that hit Asir was never found. Ballistics experts couldn’t even agree on whether Asir was struck in the front or the back or by a round from an Army M-16.
But at the scene, Mowris told his lieutenant: ″I think I might have shot that guy.″