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“It was a big shock because we weren’t on the schedule to be deployed again, to be honest with you. He didn’t want to miss out on any more of his kids’ life,” Mrs. Bales told “Today.”

Mrs. Bales said she feels he was mentally fit when he was deployed. He never told her about a traumatic brain injury he suffered while in Iraq until he returned home.

“Not until he came back and said that he, you know, had been blown up,” she said. “He shielded me from a lot of what he went through. He’s a very tough guy.”

U.S. investigators have said they believe Sgt. Bales killed in two episodes, returning to his base after the first attack and later slipping away to kill again. He is reported to have surrendered without a struggle.

Mrs. Bales has spoken to her husband by telephone twice since he was detained. The soldier called his wife first from overseas shortly after massacre and then last week from Fort Leavenworth.

They didn’t talk about what happened.

“Not on the monitored phone call, so we couldn’t discuss those details. He was — seemed a bit confused. As to where he was and why he was there,” she said.

She says he’ll probably tell her about it when they meet.

“I don’t think anything will really change my mind in believing that he did not do this. This is not what it appears to be,” she said.

The couple has two young children, a girl named Quincy and a boy named Bobby. They are now living on the base at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Bales family had a Seattle-area home condemned and struggled to make payments on another. Sgt. Bales also failed to get a promotion a year ago. Mrs. Bales put the family’s Lake Tapps, Wash., home up for sale days before the rampage.

The youngest of five brothers, Mr. Bales grew up in the working-class Cincinnati suburb of Norwood. He joined the Army two months after 9/11, after a Florida investment business failed and after he had worked with a string of securities operations.

Mrs. Bales told the “Today” show she has set up a fund to help pay for her husband’s legal defense.