Military investigators suspect that the American soldier charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and other charges in connection with the attacks against Afghan civilians this month committed the shootings during two separate operations, a United States official said Saturday according to the New York Times.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said that the investigators believed that the soldier, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, left his Afghanistan base and carried out the first set of killings, returned to the combat outpost and then, sometime later that evening, went out and attacked a second village the New York Times said.
The Times said the official said this account emerged from a range of interviews that Army investigators had conducted over the last several days as they tried to piece together what happened that night and why.
The series of events, he said, seems to support the United States government's assertion that the killings were carried out by one person, according to the Times.
Sergeant Bales, 38, was formally charged on Friday with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 6 counts of assault and attempted murder in connection with the March 13 attacks the Times said.