U.S. soldier in iraq shoots 2 American sergeants

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 18, 2008 

BAGHDAD — An American soldier shot and killed two U.S. sergeants Sunday morning at a base southeast of Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said Thursday.

The shooter's name and rank haven't been released, and the military would say only that the soldier is being held pending a review by a military magistrate. The dead men are Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson, of Pensacola, Fla., and Sgt. Wesley Durbin, of Dallas.

"It was a useless, bizarre, terrible thing," Dawson's stepmother, Maxine Mathis, said Thursday.

Dawson was nearing the end of his third tour, she said. He'd been home on leave a few months ago and said he didn't want to return to Iraq. "He was telling me about these nightmares he'd have," Mathis said. "He'd wake up in a cold sweat, seeing the things he was seeing over there. It really was messing with my son's mind."

"I don't want to go," she said that he told her. "I just want to stay home awhile."

"Baby, I know," she said that she replied. "But you got to go back."

Dawson had a wife, two little boys and two little girls. When this tour was up he planned to go to the Army recruiting school and move his family to Mobile, Ala.

"You hurry up with that," Mathis said she told him.

"Momma, I can't make them give it to me no faster," she said that he told her.

They talked for the last time a week ago Monday. Mathis asked him whether he was keeping up with his prayers and going to church; he said that he was. "I want you always to be watchful and mindful," she said that she told him. He told her that he was.

He didn't watch the men who were supposed to be his comrades, however. He trusted them.

"I'm hurt to my heart," Mathis said Thursday. "I want to know what happened, why my child was killed."

No one answered the phone at Durbin's Springfield, Ga., home. The profile he shared on MySpace with his wife, Brandi, says, "We live a very happy but quiet life," with three cats and an 8-year-old daughter.

(Spangler reports for The Miami Herald.)

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McClatchy Newspapers 2008

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