October 2, 2008

Update on Sgt. Darris Dawson Murder by Army Soldier in Iraq

UPDATE: Video update on Sgt. Dawson's funeral held in Florida last week.

Drumbeats from the Army Times provide us updated information on the murder of Sgt. Darris Dawson. It seems that a counseling session at a small outpost in Iraq took a fatal turn when the soldier being counseled opened fire with his M4 on a fellow team leader and their squad leader.

Both the team leader and squad leader died on September 14, despite efforts to save them.

The incident took place at a joint security station in Jurf as Sakhr, a town about 15 miles southwest of Baghdad on the Euphrates River. The two soldiers killed were identified as Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson, 24, of Pensacola, Fla., a squad leader, and Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin, 26, of Hurst, Texas, a fellow team leader.

The soldier who allegedly shot them was in Dawson’s squad. The Army refused to identify him pending the filing of charges.

Neither Dawson nor Durbin was wearing body armor, helmet or other protective gear during the counseling, and each was shot multiple times.

Dawson’s stepmother, Maxine Mathis, said Sept. 18 that the family was told “through the grapevine” that the shooter had lost a grenade and her stepson ordered him to retrieve it.

“This young man misplaced a grenade, and they told him to find it,” Mathis said. “Evidently he got upset with that and locked and loaded and went berserk.” Mathis, who is married to Dawson’s father, Darryl Mathis, would not reveal her source. “I can’t say he died for his country, dying like that,” a weeping Mathis said from her home in Pensacola, Fla.

Mathis said her stepson joined the Army immediately after graduating from high school six years ago. He was serving his third combat tour in Iraq, and had re-enlisted not long before he was killed. He was the father of four young children.

Mathis said he told her, “Momma, I’m not so afraid of the enemy. I’m afraid of our young guys over there, because they’re so jumpy and so quick to shoot.”

The slayings mark the third time during five years of operations in Iraq that such an incident has taken place.


clnmike said...

Tragic, my prayers to both families.

Villager said...

Mike - I'm glad that the details of the murder are being released. I was concerned when the family wasn't given a reason for the death of their son at first...