First Sergeant Jeffrey R. McKinney died in Adhamiyah, Iraq, on July 11, 2007. Officially, the Garland soldier's cause of death was listed as "injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident." But, as recounted in this July 2008 story from the Army Times, McKinney killed himself in front of his men during what was supposed to be a routine, friendly meet-and-greet with the locals. "He raised the barrel of his M4 to his chin and squeezed off one shot," wrote Kelly Kennedy. "The first sergeant -- who sang Sesame Street songs to his men and teased them just enough to make them feel like family -- left his soldiers shattered." Some of the men with whom McKinney served have left messages here.
On Friday, CBS News returned to Garland to visit with McKinney's wife and father, as part of a larger story dealing with the Army and its efforts to combat post-traumatic stress and the rising number of military suicides. Says Charles McKinney of his son's suicide, "I think he felt like he couldn't send one more broken body home, one more dead person home." The CBS video is after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.