U.S. soldiers involved in BB gun shooting spree give conflicting testimonies
Published : 2013-03-06 18:19
Updated : 2013-03-06 18:20
Two American soldiers who are accused of shooting a BB gun into crowds and fleeing in a car gave different accounts Wednesday over who drove the car at high speeds and tried to hit a police officer chasing them.
Three soldiers from the 8th U.S. Army are under investigation by South Korean police after they shot a BB gun at pedestrians in the multicultural Itaewon district late Saturday night and fled in a car, leading to the police pursuit.
A police officer who chased the soldiers shot at the car as the car tried to rush by him. In the process, a 23-year-old private first class was hit by a stray bullet and the officer's leg was injured.
Police on Monday summoned two officers -- a 26-year-old staff sergeant and a 22-year-old female specialist -- and on Tuesday visited the base to question the wounded soldier undergoing treatment at a military hospital.
On Wednesday, police called in the two officers again to conduct cross examinations.
The specialist confessed that she shot the BB gun at people "just for fun," officials said, but their testimonies differed on who drove the car that night.
While the female soldier said the staff sergeant took the wheel, the staff sergeant said he let the private first class drive because he had broken pieces of window glass in his eyes. A police officer broke the car's window after the three refused to get out of the car to speak with police.
"If all of three had agreed to flee from police, they would become accomplices. If one made an arbitrary decision to flee, some of them may be cleared of charges," an official at Yongsan Police Station said.
Police said they will secure video footage from surveillance cameras along the escape route, and use a lie detector if needed for further investigation.
Officials suspect the soldiers may have fled from authorities because they were afraid of punishment if they were investigated by South Korean police for using a BB gun.
Police earlier said they will press charges of obstruction of duty and traffic offenses against those involved.
About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. (Yonhap News)