Army SSG John Russell Killed Five Fellow Soldiers at a Mental Health Clinic in Iraq; Found Guilty of Premeditated Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (May 11, 2009)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Honoring the Victims:

  1. Major Matthew Houseal, 54, U.S. Army
  2. Commander Keith Springle, 52, U.S. Navy
  3. Sergeant Christian Bueno-Galdos, 25, U.S. Army
  4. Specialist Jacob Barton, 20, U.S. Army
  5. Private First Class Michael Yates, 19, U.S. Army

On May 11, 2009, SSG John Russell gunned down five of his fellow comrades at a mental health clinic at Camp Liberty in Iraq with his M-16. It was revealed that he had an argument with someone at the clinic, left, and came back with his gun. His crimes were determined to be premeditated. He was arrested and subsequently charged with murder and aggravated assault of another soldier that was seriously injured. Days before the killings witnesses noticed that he was distant and having suicidal thoughts. He was also scheduled to leave Iraq in a few days. He was tried for the murders of his fellow comrades and found guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison on May 16, 2013. But his family feels that the Army should also take responsibility for their actions. The family believes that John was broken and not treated for the injuries he sustained in combat, in the line of duty. SSG Russell was being treated for symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress with medications but it is believed that the psychotropics the military psychiatrists prescribed to him may have played a role in his actions. He was described as a kind, caring man up until the day he committed the unforeseen murders against his fellow soldiers.

SSG John Russell, U.S. Army

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Army IDs Sgt. John M. Russell as the shooter who killed 5 fellow soldiers at Iraq base
U.S. soldier charged with murder in Iraq shooting deaths
Army Sgt. that killed 5 comrades in Iraq a Sherman native
Father: Army ‘Broke’ Soldier Held in Kilings
Did Doctors Deny Iraq Shooter’s Stress?
U.S. Soldier Charged in Baghdad Shooting Was Due to Leave Iraq Soon
Horror and stresses of Iraq duty led US sergeant to kill comrades
When PTSD Comes Marching Home
Military Mental Health Crisis Exposed With Camp Liberty Killings
Trial date set in case of officer’s murder
Wait for court-martial in fratricide case frustrates victim’s family
Army judge orders soldier who killed five in Iraq to be hypnotised
Army sergeant pleads guilty to 2009 killing of fellow soldiers
US soldier ‘coolly smoked a cigarette’ before shooting dead five of his comrades in Iraq, court hears
US soldier who shot five troops was ‘broken’ by counsellors
Judge: Soldier premeditated murder of 5 at Iraq combat stress clinic
U.S. soldier found guilty of 5 premeditated killings in Iraq
Sgt. John Russell: Wrenching testimony in penalty phase
Soldier who killed fellow U.S. troops in Iraq gets life sentence
US army sergeant jailed for life over Iraq killings
Psychiatry in the Military: The Hidden Enemy—Full Documentary
Violent Crime at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Army SSG John Russell Sentenced to Life in Prison for the Premeditated Murders of Five Fellow Soldiers at a Mental Health Clinic in Iraq (May 16, 2013)

President George W. Bush Signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Into Law (November 5, 2007)

House of Representatives Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Debate:

The House debates the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide. The bill follows hearings in the Oversight and Veterans Affairs committees seeking to address the tragic mental anguish experienced by many veterans, and is part of ongoing, comprehensive efforts by the new Congress to make veterans a top priority. Rep. Tim Walz speaks in favor. -Nancy Pelosi (October 23, 2007)

Rep. Bruce Braley speaks in favor. -Nancy Pelosi (October 23, 2007)

Rep. Tim Walz speaks in favor. -Nancy Pelosi (October 23, 2007)

Congressman Boswell’s floor statement before the final passage of the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act. (October 23, 2007)

Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Signed Into Law:

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Congressman Leonard Boswell, Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Charles Grassley present Randy and Ellen Omvig with the red line copy of the bill signed by President George W. Bush at a Jan. 25 ceremony at the Iowa Statehouse. Joshua Omvig was an Iowa soldier who committed suicide upon returning home from Iraq. The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, authored by Boswell, is now national law. –
IowaPoliticsDotCom (January 25, 2008)

Part 1 -IowaPoliticsDotCom (January 25, 2008)

Part 2 -IowaPoliticsDotCom (January 25, 2008)

Part 3 -IowaPoliticsDotCom (January 25, 2008)

Rep. Boswell Asks for Increased Funding for Soldier Suicide Prevention:

In 2007, Boswell’s legislation, the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, was the first major legislation passed and signed into law to address and prevent veteran suicide. Since enactment, the Veterans Crisis Hotline and VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators have made more than 21,000 life-saving rescues. -Rep. Leonard Boswell (July 9, 2012)

Related Links:
Giving Vets Their Due
Families blame vet suicides on lack of VA care
The Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act
Omvig bill addressing suicide among veterans moves closer to law
President Bush Signs H.R. 327 and H.R. 1284 into Law
Rep. Walz on Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
Rep. Braley on Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
Boswell – H.R.327 Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention
Iowa lawmakers honor Iowa soldier, family (part 1)
Iowa lawmakers honor Iowa soldier, family (part 2)
Iowa lawmakers honor Iowa soldier, family (part 3)
Rep. Leonard Boswell on Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
Boswell Speaks on Floor for Increased Funding for Soldier Suicide Prevention
H.R.327 – Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
H.R. 327 (110th): Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
Public Law 110 – 110 – Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
House Passes Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
HOR: Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
S.3808: Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
S. 479, Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act | CBO
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention | Senator Patty Murray
Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act | Cornell Law School
Vets’ Mental Health Bill Becomes Law
The Full Story: Veterans And Suicide | CBS News
National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide – VA Mental Health
Suicide rate for veterans far exceeds that of civilian population
Voices: The heartbreak of veterans’ suicides
Parents on VA mental health care: ‘No one was there to help’
Leonard Boswell, Veterans’ Champion in the House, Dies at 84
Army Reservist Joshua Omvig Died by Suicide; Parents Lobby for Change, Congress Passes Veterans Suicide Prevention Act in His Name (December 22, 2005)
Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs