Man charged in US soldier's shooting

2011-12-28 10:55

San Bernardino - A California man was charged with attempted murder Tuesday in the shooting of an Afghanistan war veteran at a homecoming party during what authorities said was a fight over football teams.

But the attorney for 19-year-old Ruben Ray Jurado said his client was apparently under attack when shots were fired at Christopher Sullivan.

Jurado turned himself in to authorities on Monday for investigation in the shooting that critically wounded the 22-year-old veteran.

Authorities said Jurado, who had played football with Sullivan in high school, began arguing with Sullivan's brother over football teams at Friday's party and then punched him. Sullivan intervened and Jurado pulled a gun and fired, hitting Sullivan in the neck, police said.

Sullivan remains in critical condition. His relatives say the gunfire shattered his spine and left him paralysed from the neck down.

"He's opening his eyes more," his 20-year-old brother, Brandon, told the Associated Press. "We're just waiting day by day."

Sullivan was wounded in a suicide bombing attack last year while serving in Afghanistan. He suffered a cracked collarbone and brain damage in the attack and had been recovering in Kentucky, where he is stationed, before coming home for the holidays.

The lawyer for Jurado, Michael J Holmes, said on Tuesday that it appeared that his client had been under attack before the shooting.

"It appears that he was being attacked and he was on the ground and was being kicked in the back, stomach, the head, and that is consistent with the injuries that I observed," Holmes said. "It is alleged at that point that Mr Sullivan was shot."

Sullivan had nine months left in the military and then planned to become a firefighter or police officer.