Though Army investigators, in their extensive report on Barrett's death, were unable to determine whether he had planned to kill others, there shouldn't have been much doubt about his own fate. As he texted one friend a day before the shootout, "It's almost over — 36 hours from now I'll be dead. I've got one hell of an argument and about 1,000 rounds to prove my point."

At a press conference, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said he was relieved that "in this particular circumstance, [Barrett] had opportunity to engage civilian targets and chose not to for some reason." But the chief was upset that the Army had never notified him that Barrett was headed his way. "I didn't come here to point a finger at the military and say, 'You should have,' because it's always a challenge with intelligence," Burbank said. "But in this case, would we like to have had information sooner? Absolutely."

The Army acknowledges in its report that leadership failed to notify Barrett's family of his AWOL status in a timely manner. Leadership also "did not facilitate the apprehension" of Barrett when it could have in Tucson. In fact, its whole approach to coordinating apprehension of a deserter was "flawed," the Army concedes.

Yet the report avoids pointing out that the Army's delays and errors could have led to the deaths of innocent citizens. As security guard Salmon tells us, "I think I deterred him from going up and shooting people from the tower. He clearly was headed there." Though Barrett admittedly "experienced significant losses in combat that affected his behavior and actions leading up to the incident," the Army says, he was not considered at-risk based on his health assessments. Nobody, therefore, should have expected this. "During my investigation," summed up the Army's chief investigator, "I found that the Company chain of command did all that was reasonably possible to save SPC Brandon S. Barrett."

More than a few of Barrett's fellow soldiers, interviewed by investigators, disagreed strongly. Some felt the Army wasn't listening to them, and several complained to officers about the way the DUI had been brought up in formation. "I think had the DUI been handled more privately, there is a chance Brandon wouldn't have gone AWOL," said one. "He had said he was humiliated and felt like a total 'dirt bag.'" Another said he had asked an officer to reduce the canceled leave time but was rebuffed. Of the Army's procedures, one said, "I cannot understand why he was not more aggressively pursued."

Brandon's detective brother says the outcome might have changed had the Army, for one thing, made an effort to find the correct phone number to contact Brandon's father. Also, having someone double-check to see if the AWOL notice actually had gone out, and sending the desertion notice in a more timely manner, would have helped. As a federal warrant, the desertion notice could have enabled Tucson police to obtain Brandon's cell phone number and track his movements.

"The Army says they never knew where he was," says Shane. "But they paid him. While he was AWOL, he got an Army paycheck at home in Tucson."

The Barretts will probably never know why Brandon picked Salt Lake City. Shane has since gone there to look around and meet the man who killed his brother, officer Downes. "We shook hands. I wanted him to know that he did what he had to do under the circumstances." Shane also met with security officer Salmon, handing her a letter from Brandon's mother in appreciation of Salmon's help and possible prevention of a worse tragedy. "She called me his angel," says Salmon.

Shane, who says his brother never gave their family a hint of his suicidal — if not homicidal — plan, has reassessed his impression of Brandon's happy mood while home on leave. "Looking back on it now, Brandon was making peace with his loved ones," says Shane. "The only thing he held in higher regard than the Army was his family."

Last September, Brandon Barrett's family prepared to bury him with military honors. The family didn't condone his actions, says Shane. They just wanted to honor him for valiantly serving his country. But the Army, so slow to move when he was alive and in trouble, quickly stepped in. Because he had died committing a crime, Specialist Brandon Barrett, who had earned the Combat Infantryman Badge in battle, could not be buried with a military guard in attendance, the Army ruled.

"We were basically told that Brandon disgraced the Army with his actions, and to give him military honors would reflect poorly on the Army," says Shane.

Brandon Barrett was laid to rest September 28 without Army honors. A handful of aging VFW members pitched in, firing a salute and playing "Taps" at his burial in a veterans' cemetery south of Tucson. Besides the 37 soldiers Barrett's brigade lost in the Afghanistan war, another six have died to date in non-combat incidents, and 239 have been wounded in action. Barrett's death is not considered part of the war toll. He died in combat on the home front, where body counts aren't kept.

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Usgovfail
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The federal government will pay for their war crimes some day. They send these ignorant young people to do their bidding, not so that citizens can be free, but so that politicians and war contractors can get rich. Its ridiculous the brainwashing that occurs in this nation. I hope china attacks the USA one day focusing on wiping out government installments. Fuck the US federal government, I hope you all die.

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The members of the VFW were truly exemplary of the good in man.My condolences to the Barrett family, and to all families touched by these horrific governmental mistakes abroad.

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RIP Brandon. Angel wings of comfort to his family. The toll of war is tragic. All around a very sad series of events. Blessings to the Army, and all the soldiers serving in valor for our country. I believe in our Armed Forces despite the casualties that can't help but happen. Bless and comfort them all. Amen.

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