There’s more news on the tragic death of 25-year-old Sgt. La David T. Johnson, the circumstances around which have heretofore remained murky.
An Associated Press report that broke Sunday afternoon revealed that Johnson—the young American soldier killed in an ISIS-, or Islamic State-group-affiliated ambush in Niger—wasn’t captured alive by the enemy or executed at close range, according to a military investigation. The report says it also found evidence that Johnson bravely fought against ISIS’ agents until the end.
According to AP:
[T]he report has determined that [Johnson] was killed by enemy rifle and machine gun fire as he fled the attack by an offshoot of the Islamic State group about 120 miles north of Niamey, the capital of the African country. The attack took place Oct. 4; Johnson’s body was recovered two days later.
The officials familiar with the investigation said that Johnson was hit as many as 18 times from a distance by a volley of machine-gun rounds from M4 rifles and that he was returning fire as he and two Nigerien soldiers tried to escape. This evidence refutes reports that he was shot at close range or had been bound or taken prisoner and executed.
The report concluded that Johnson, who was athletic and a runner, was in the lead and got the farthest away, seeking cover in the brush. Officials said there were a number of enemy shells around Johnson, and evidence that he appeared to fight to the end. His boots and other equipment were later stolen, but he was still wearing his uniform.
At one point, Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, openly questioned the government’s handling of her husband’s remains, saying that she was given no information and was not allowed to see her husband’s body.
“I don’t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything,” Myeshia Johnson said.
She also got into a public spat with President Donald Trump over a condolence call after her husband’s death, part of which she found disrespectful.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.