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A U.S. soldier accused of fatally shooting five fellow servicemembers at a combat stress clinic in Iraq in May has been returned to the U.S. forces detention facility in Kuwait while a probe of the incident continues, Army officials confirmed Monday.

Sgt. John M. Russell, 44, of the 54th Engineer Battalion out of Bamberg, Germany, has been charged with five counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in the shootings.

Russell, who was on his third Iraq deployment, had been ordered to turn in his weapon and receive counseling at the Camp Liberty clinic in Baghdad.

After a confrontation with clinic staff on May 11, Russell left, returned with a gun, possibly seized from his escort, and began shooting, the military alleges.

Russell is charged in the deaths of Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25; Pfc. Michael Yates, 19; Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle, 52; Army reservist Maj. Matthew Houseal, 54; and Spc. Jacob Barton, 20.

Russell was held in Kuwait following his arrest, then was transported to the Marine detention facility in Quantico, Va., for evaluations at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and is now back in Kuwait, two Army officials confirmed.

Army officials declined to give details about the outcome of Russell’s evaluation or say why he was moved back to Kuwait.

After the shootings, the stress clinic was moved to a different location at Camp Liberty, as the investigation continues. It’s not known whether the move is permanent.

V Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale would not give details about the investigation, saying it would be detrimental to the outcome of the probe.

Stripes reporter Jeff Schogol contributed to this story.


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