Pentagon looking for answers in shooting deaths of 3 soldiers in Jordan

The Pentagon has identified the three Special Forces soldiers supporting the anti-Islamic State coalition who died after their convoy came under fire on Friday while entering a military base in Jordan. From left to right: Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27; Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30; and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27.


By TARA COPP | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 7, 2016

WASHINGTON — Security camera footage is being reviewed to determine whether a shooting at a military checkpoint in Jordan that left three U.S. soldiers dead was intentional, a Pentagon official said Monday.

“We’re looking at every possibility here. That includes the possibility of some kind of horrible miscalculation or miscommunication, and the possibility of some sort of deliberate attack targeting Americans,” said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The gate at King Faisal Air Base in al-Jafr where the gunfight took place had a security camera installed, according to the official.

On Friday, Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty were driving toward a military checkpoint at the air base at about noon to conduct training there when gunfire broke out between the three soldiers and a lone Jordanian guard, two U.S. officials confirmed to Stars and Stripes on the condition of anonymity.

“There was only one shooter,” a U.S. official said.

The gunfire killed one of the U.S. soldiers at the checkpoint and the two others died later at a nearby hospital. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kan.; McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Ariz., and Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas, were members of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

The Jordanian guard was also wounded in the exchange and remains in an area hospital, one of the U.S. officials said.

The Jordanian government and the Pentagon are still investigating the incident. As of Monday, it was not clear whether the three soldiers had done something such as miss the checkpoint to cause the incident or whether they were ambushed by the guard. In November 2015, two Americans were among five trainers killed when a Jordanian police officer opened fire on them.

Twitter: @TaraCopp

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