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COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — A man accused of firing about 150 shots into rock formations at the Garden of the Gods is a decorated Army soldier who survived bomb blasts in Afghanistan.
Brandon Bougades told The Gazette that he has post-traumatic stress disorder but his war injuries had nothing to do with the gunfire early Monday. The 31-year-old said he thought he was allowed to shoot in what he called an undeveloped area on the edge of the landmark.
“I just thought I was going off into the woods to shoot a few rounds,” said Bougades, who was assigned to the 101st Airborne Divison at Fort Campbell, Ky., but is on leave while awaiting a medical discharge from theArmy.
Police cited him with two misdemeanors that could bring up to 18 months in jail and a fine up to $1,750 if he’s convicted. They also seized his semi-automatic pistol and shotgun.
Some neighbors frightened by the rapid gunfire said they’re worried he was only issued a citation and released.
“He freaked the crap out of us. We though there was a mass shooting,” said Theresa Brands. “I wrote to the mayor saying this is not normal behavior, maybe this guy should be held and evaluated.”
A spokeswoman for the Fort Campbell hospital, Laura Boyd, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she wasn’t aware of any effort to end Bougades’ leave and have him return to the post.
She declined to discuss the specifics of Bougades’ case to protect his medical privacy. However, she saidsoldiers awaiting a medical discharge are in daily contact with their squad leaders. If a soldier gets into trouble, she said, a nurse case manager will reach out to the local Veterans Affairs office to check in with thesoldier.
Police spokesman Larry Herbert said Bougades’ military history and medical condition didn’t influence the decision to cite and release him. A statement from police said officers decided against citing him for violating less serious city ordinances.
Bougades joined the Army in 2006 and served 15 months in Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan. He earned three Army commendation medals for heroism before moving to Colorado to attend school.
He said he was hit by three roadside bombs within three months in Khost province in 2010. In the last blast, on his 28th birthday, shrapnel broke two bones in his legs. He signed his reenlistment papers from his hospital bed and told Army public affairs at the time, “I love this job.”