An American serviceman is being held in Iraq in connection with the fatal shootings of two soldiers and the wounding of another following an apparent argument, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
A statement by U.S. forces said Spc. Neftaly Platero was in custody during the investigation into last week's slayings in Fallujah, a former insurgent stronghold 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad.
Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said a "verbal altercation" broke out among four soldiers last Thursday and the suspect "allegedly took his weapon and began shooting the other soldiers."
Platero is from the Houston area, Johnson said.
The Pentagon said Spc. John Carrillo Jr., 20, of Stockton, California, and Pfc. Gebrah P. Noonan, 26, of Watertown, Connecticut died the next day. They were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Stewart, Ga.
The name of the wounded soldier was not released. No other details were immediately available.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan says U.S. forces are "saddened by this tragic event."
In an unrelated incident, the Pentagon said another U.S. soldier died last Friday in an accident in Kuwait. A statement said Army Spc. Marc C. Whisenant, 23, of Holly Hill, Fla., died in a military vehicle roll-over. It offered no details, including whether the soldier was inside the vehicle.
Whisenant was assigned to the Florida National Guard's 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment that is based at Miami. Some soldiers sent to support the seven-year war in Iraq are stationed in Kuwait, a military shuttle point for equipment, supplies and personnel.
Tuesday was a deadly day for three Iraqi security officials who were killed in separate nighttime attacks in two northern cities.
A bomb stuck to a car exploded Tuesday night near a popular cafe in Tarmiyah, killing two policemen and wounding eight customers, local police and hospital officials said. Tarmiyah is located 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad.
About an hour later, officials said attackers broke in the home of a policeman in the former insurgent stronghold of Samarra and killed him. A health worker confirmed the death. Samarra is the site of the landmark golden-domed and revered Shiite Askariya shrine that was bombed in 2006 — an attack that sparked months of sectarian slaughter.
Attacks on Iraqi security forces have stepped up in recent months as the U.S. military begins to withdraw from the country.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Associated Press Writer Lara Jakes contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects year of Samarra bombing to 2006, instead of 2005. For global distribution.)