The American soldier who killed 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, had suffered a traumatic brain injury but was cleared for active service, Reuters reports, citing government sources in Washington.
The soldier, stationed in Kandahar, reportedly sneaked off the US base in the middle of the night wearing night-vision goggles and entered three Afghan family homes and began shooting the men, women and children sleeping inside. After the shooting spree, he returned to base and handed himself in.
Officials said the Army Sergeant, whose name is not mentioned, had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury in the past, either from hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident.
He is currently under arrest at a US military base in Kandahar.
Panetta says US soldier could get death for shooting spree
An American soldier who is accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians could face the death penalty, if convicted, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday.
The statement came after the soldier walked off his base in the Kandahar province and broke into village homes in the early hours of Sunday, killing 16 people including women and children.