- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Eight American soldiers have been charged in the Oct. 3 death of a fellow GI who apparently shot himself in Afghanistan, the Army said Wednesday.

Pvt. Danny Chen, a 19-year-old from Manhattan, was found in a guard tower in Kandahar province with what the Army has described as “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The soldiers remain in Afghanistan but have been removed from their duty positions and sent to a different base. They are under increased supervision.

The military said the eight soldiers from Chen’s company faced charges ranging from dereliction of duty, assault, negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter.

The Army announced earlier it was investigating Chen’s death.

Chen was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

An Army statement identified the soldiers as 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, Spc. Ryan J. Offutt and Sgt. Travis F. Carden. Their hometowns were not immediately available.

According to the statement, VanBockel, Holcomb, Hurst, Curtis and Offutt were charged with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, assault consummated by battery and one specification of reckless endangerment, among other charges.

Carden was charged with violation of a lawful general regulation, maltreatment and assault.

Dugas was charged with violation of a lawful general regulation, dereliction of duty, and making a false official statement.

Schwartz was charged with dereliction of duty.

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