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‘We still want answers’: Funeral held for Ft. Rucker soldier allegedly killed by fellow private with shovel

Fort Rucker (Howard Koplowitz/

The family of the Fort Rucker soldier killed earlier this month with a shovel allegedly wielded by another Army private said they have lingering questions about his death as they laid him to rest in New Jersey.

“We get to put him to rest, but we still want answers,” Mohammed Latifu, brother of slain Army Pvt. Abdul Latifu, told News 12 in New Jersey as funeral services were held for the Bronx native.

“The family is distraught,” Mohammed Latifu continued, saying his father was too upset to address reporters. “It’s a heartbreaking tragedy.”

Abdul Latifu, a 21-year-old Ghanaian-American, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade, as he trained as an Army Air Traffic Control Operator.

Army Times reported the alleged attack involved an Army-issued entrenching tool – a small steel folding shovel – in the assault.

Pvt. Brian Jones, a 21-year-old trainee attending an Army air traffic control operator course at Fort Rucker, has been in custody since the Jan. 10 killing of Abdul LatifuArmy Times reported. Jones now faces a murder charge under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and will remain in custody until trial as the military justice system does not provide an opportunity for bail.

Al-Haj Mohammed Murtala, a family member of Abdul Latifu’s, also suggested the family does not have all the details of the incident.

“We are still in darkness. We still haven’t been properly informed as to what really transpired,” he said. “We need to get down to the roots of whatever transpired.”

Baraka Abdullah, Latifu’s sister, said it’s been difficult to grasp that her brother is dead.

“Right now, I’m stuck at the point where i feel like he’s not gone,” she said. “I keep feeling like he’s still here.”


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