Tags: N.C. | Lawman | Kills | Soldier | Mishap

N.C. Lawman Kills Soldier in Mishap

Monday, 25 February 2002 12:00 AM

The shooting in a church parking lot occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday during Operation Robin Sage, the culmination of Special Forces qualification school, which puts candidates for the coveted Green Beret in hypothetical situations to see how they respond. State and Army officials are investigating the shooting, near Robbins, N.C.

Phelps was in fair condition Monday at a nearby hospital.

Deputy Randall Butler of the Moore County Sheriff's Department saw two armed men in civilian clothes riding in the back of a pickup truck. When he stopped the truck, one of the men tried to disarm him and the other pulled an M4 – a modified M16 used by special operations soldiers – and Butler shot them.

The two soldiers were in a truck driven by a civilian off base in the imaginary country of Pineland for the Robin Sage exercise. In the past, law enforcement agencies have been notified and even helped by blocking roads or playing roles themselves, during the four-times-a-year exercises.

Butler had seen the men in the back of the truck, despite near-freezing weather, and saw a man quickly hide something.

Butler stopped the truck and after a brief scuffle, in which he used pepper spray on one soldier, the deputy shot the men as they tried to pull a weapon out of a bag.

The soldiers thought this was part of the exercise. Their M4 was loaded with blanks.

Carter thought it was real. And so were his bullets.

Butler had no way of knowing the men were role-playing in a military exercise, according to Lane Carter, the county's chief deputy. Butler is on administrative leave, a standard procedure, Carter said. The Moore County Sheriff's Department was unaware exercises were proceeding over the weekend, officials said.

One Special Forces soldier posted on a bulletin board: "It appears Murphy was riding with both the soldiers and the deputy."

Murphy's Law states: If anything can go wrong, it will.

And it did.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The shooting in a church parking lot occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday during Operation Robin Sage, the culmination of Special Forces qualification school, which puts candidates for the coveted Green Beret in hypothetical situations to see how they respond. State...
N.C.,Lawman,Kills,Soldier,Mishap
335
2002-00-25
Monday, 25 February 2002 12:00 AM
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