U.S. Identifies Soldier Suspect in Afghan Shootings: Reports

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The suspect being held in connection with brutal March 11 killing of 16 Afghan civilians is U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, according to multiple media reports.

Bloomberg, citing a U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because formal charges have yet to be announced, said Bales is being transported to the U.S. He is believed to headed for the maximum-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The suspect had previously been described as "38-year-old sniper in the Army's 2-3 Infantry, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division, who was on his first deployment to Afghanistan and had previously served three tours in Iraq," Bloomberg said. The New York Times said Bales is from Lake Tapps, Wash.

The killings, which included both women and children, have strained relations between the United States and Afghanistan's government with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, saying Friday he was "at the end of the rope" because of what he viewed as a lack of cooperation by the U.S. in investigating the incident, according to the NYT report.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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