Soldier from the Bronx killed during incident with another soldier; family demanding justice

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Soldier from the Bronx killed during incident with another soldier
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Pvt. Abdul N. Latifu, of the Bronx, was killed during an incident with another soldier at Fort Rucker in Alabama. Michelle Charlesworth has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A soldier from the Bronx died during an incident with another soldier earlier this month, Army officials announced.

Quiet, studious, friendly, and a fan of anime and being with his family, Abdul Latifu had just turned 21 when he was brutally murdered with a military tool, the Army says, by a fellow Private at Fort Rucker in Alabama.

Latifu was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade, as he trained as an Army Air Traffic Control Operator.

"For him to be taken from us at this young age is heartbreaking," said Abdul's brother, Mohammed Latifu.

It happened January 10, and from that day, the family says they have received very little information and little respect.

"I said, my son is not passing away - I know in my heart he's in the morgue," said his father, Taju Latifu.

The Army says the murder weapon was an entrenching tool, a folding military shovel that his family says should have never been allowed in an area away from unsupervised training.

Charged with murder is Brian Jones, Jr., 21. Officials said Jones was also an Advanced Individual Training Soldier attending the Army Air Traffic Control Operator course.

"I was justice, case law out of this," said Mohammed.

Mohammed never wants entrenching tools in a dorm room again.

"The e-tool was used to murder my brother violently - they shouldn't have it," he added.

No motive has been given by investigators, but only one person reportedly suffered wounds in the attack.

"You hear them say 'this is an altercation and this guy doesn't fight!'" said Taju.

The family is heartbroken and just desperate for timely information. They prepared Abdul's body themselves for burial - and saw the head and face wounds as well as defensive wounds he suffered.

"On behalf of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, I extend our deepest condolences to Pvt. Latifu's family, friends, and community. Together we mourn the loss of a promising young Soldier," said Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, USAACE and Fort Rucker commander. "Our hearts are with the families and units impacted by the incident, and we are focused on taking care of Soldiers, families, and leaders."

To the Army, Mohammed says 'keep your condolences - we want justice.'

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