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Soldier Accused Of Killing Afghan Civilians Identified

Senior U.S. official identifies shooter as Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
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credit: SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

credit: SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A senior U.S. official says the soldier accused in the killing of 16 Afghan civilians is Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into an incident that has roiled relations with Afghanistan.

American officials had previously said the suspect was a 38-year-old staff sergeant and that he had spent 11 years in the Army. But they had refused to release his name, saying it is military policy to publicly name a suspect only after he has been charged with an offense.

Bales has not yet been charged. He was being flown Friday from Kuwait to a military detention center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

President Barack Obama called the shooting “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking.”

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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