When Combat Comes Home

August 14 2009, 10:49 AM

Charles Garlick encountered James Foos in an alley between Ogden and Emerson streets near Colfax Avenue on August 5 just before 3 a.m. Garlick, an Iraq War veteran who received a Purple Heart medal, is accused of shooting Foos in the chest that morning with an AR-15 assault rifle, writes The Denver Post, which notes that police have not released a motive. As the Post put the story online yesterday, I was speaking at a forum at the University of Colorado's Law School: "Defending the Defenders: Advocacy for Combat Veterans in Criminal Courts." I told the group of lawyers, police officers, private investigators, advocates, and journalists that the Army is struggling with a spate of suicides and that there's a frightening trend in which soldiers are returning home only to murder a fellow American. (I've written a long line of stories on the scandal this year for Salon with national correspondent Mark Benjamin. Read them here.) The details of Garlick's case are still emerging: He was an infantryman wounded by mortar fire in 2005, according to CBS News. The Post obtained a transcript from an interview with a CBS reporter in which Garlick was asked if he was glad he'd be leaving the war because his arm was wounded. Garlick replied: "To be honest with you, no, because I'm leaving. I was a team leader, and I'm leaving the team behind."