NBC 4 New York
A Long Island couple is demanding to know the truth about their Marine son's killing in Afghanistan, while a soldier who served with Greg Buckley Jr. is speaking out about the shooting he witnessed. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
Six months after a Long Island soldier was shot and killed in Afghanistan, his heartbroken family continues to seek answers about his death.
Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr., 21, was killed last August when an Afghani man who worked on Buckley's base went on a shooting rampage. Buckley and two of his comrades died.
Buckley's family in Oceanside was initially told the shooter was an Afghani policeman being trained by American soldiers on the base. The military hasn't completed its investigation, but his relatives have been talking to witnesses and are raising doubts about what they were first told.
David Oliver, Buckley's best friend and one of the few people who escaped the shooting alive, is among those who has spoken with the family.
In a Skype interview with NBC 4 New York, Oliver said it was a 19-year-old assistant to a police commander who pulled the trigger.
"All of a sudden, in came an Afghan with an AK-47 and full 30-round clip, and he just held down the trigger and started shooting at us," he said.
Oliver said the shooting was unprovoked and erupted in a makeshift gym on a base where the soldiers believed they were safe and among friends.
"They found him, detained him and apparently he said he did jihad," said Oliver.
Buckley's father, Greg Buckley Sr., said, "As far as I'm concerned, that's a terrorist attack. That's not an insider attack, it's not a police officer, it wasn't another soldier. It was a civilian."
Military officials confirmed the shooter was arrested and detained but would not share his name or the legal process he is facing.
In 2012, there were 46 insider attacks, also known as "green on blue," according to military officials. Thirty-three of those resulted in deaths.
While the military hasn't formally acknowledged the August 2012 attack, Gen. John Allen, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, wrote a sympathy letter to the Buckleys stating in part, "Such an attack, no matter the motivation of the perpetrator, is an outrageous and unconscionable betrayal of trust."
Buckley's mother, Marina Buckley, said, "It's senseless. They don't want us there, and my son continuously said that. He would say, 'They don't want us here. Why are we here?'"