Defense Department documents handed over to the Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request raised the possibility that the “friendly-fire” death of soldier and former NFL player Pat Tillman amounted to a crime. Doctors examining Tillman’s body after he was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators that the three bullet holes in his head appeared to have been fired by an M-16 from less than a dozen yards away rather than the 100 meters or so that the military has claimed.
AP via Washington Post:
Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman’s forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player’s death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
“The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described,” a doctor who examined Tillman’s body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.
The doctors—whose names were blacked out—said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.
Ultimately, the Pentagon did conduct a criminal investigation, and asked Tillman’s comrades whether he was disliked by his men and whether they had any reason to believe he was deliberately killed. The Pentagon eventually ruled that Tillman’s death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.