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Criminal Justice

Killing of Chino Paratrooper Stationed At Fort Bragg Remains Unsolved Two Years Later

The emblem of the U.S. Army is depicted on a round medal with the words: Department Of The Army curved across the top and United States Of America along the bottom. In the middle is an engraving of various weapons and the date 1775.
The emblem of the U.S. Army.
(Levi Meir Clancy
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Almost two years after the killing of an Army paratrooper from Chino, the League of United Latin American Citizens — or LULAC — is calling for the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate.

Enrique Roman-Martinez was beheaded in May 2020 while camping with seven other soldiers in North Carolina, where they were stationed at Fort Bragg. The Army closed its investigation without linking anyone to the suspected homicide.

LULAC's California Director, Jose Barrera, says to ensure safety within the military, a just and equitable system must be in place for those serving in the Army.

"Our Latino military personnel are being taken advantage of; oftentimes, we noticed it's within the military, that they're not being protected. So we want to end that culture … We just want our people to be safe."

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The investigation into the Roman-Martinez killing has been full of twists and turns. The Army Times reports that the soldiers ran into a park ranger hours before calling authorities, but did not disclose that they were looking for Roman-Martinez.

On top of that, three paratroopers will face a general court-martial for making official false statements to authorities, disobeying Fort Bragg's COVID-19 restrictions and allegedly using drugs.

"I think it's time for us to call for a full-fledged investigation from the Department of Justice and let the Army rest from having taken the responsibility and have a fresh set of eyes on this case," Barrera said.

LULAC also wants the current $50,000 reward for credible information doubled. Congresswoman Norma Torres — who represents the Chino area — asked for further review of the case last fall.

Barrera points out it's been two years since the murder, and there are still not enough answers.

"I think that in itself shows that the Army is not doing enough in this one investigation," he said.

He's hoping a doubled reward would incentivize someone to come forward.

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