The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds |

Nation & World

Our network sites | Advanced

Originally published Monday, June 8, 2009 at 8:03 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Funeral held for soldier killed in Ark. attack

A soldier shot and killed at a military recruiting office in Arkansas last week was laid to rest Monday, though what his headstone will eventually read is still unknown.

Associated Press Writer

CONWAY, Ark. —

A soldier shot and killed at a military recruiting office in Arkansas last week was laid to rest Monday, though what his headstone will eventually read is still unknown.

Pvt. William Andrew Long's family must still decide whether his tombstone lists him as the first soldier to die at the hands of a terrorist in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.

Police say Long was shot and killed June 1 by Abdulhakim Muhammad, 23, a Muslim convert, at a recruiting center at a suburban Little Rock strip mall. Muhammad, who also allegedly injured another Army private, targeted soldiers because of what he thought they had done to Muslims in the past, authorities said.

Daris Long, the dead private's father, has said he believed his son was a casualty of war. Federal prosecutors are deciding whether to press terrorism charges against Muhammad.

While nearly 5,000 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Defense Department and a count by The Associated Press lists no domestic terror victims' death since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"As bad as it is, people understand when a soldier is killed in combat in a war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan," Gov. Mike Beebe said outside Harlan Park Baptist Church. "It's a little different - shock I guess is the best way to say it - when one is killed right here at home; targeted because he had a uniform on."

At the funeral Monday morning, about 200 mourners remembered the 23-year-old Long, with Pastor John Harrington describing him as a sharp and gifted man with an infectious smile.

Long, known to his family as Andy, elected to serve in the Army like his brother, joining a family tradition of military service that extends back to his great-grandfather, the pastor said.

I "believe Andy found what he was seeking when he became a soldier," Harrington said.

During the service, Daris Long read a letter he'd planned to give his son before his deployment to South Korea, which was scheduled on the day that turned out to be his funeral.

Choking up at times, the elder Long told his son to learn his skills quickly, as the chance remained that North Korea could invade South Korea.

"Your day only ends when you've done your duty," the father said, tears in his eyes. He then placed the letter in the casket.


A procession of motorcycles led the hearse carrying Long's body to the North Little Rock cemetery. There, Army Chaplain Jeremy Miller urged those there to cast aside thoughts of revenge.

Muhammad faces state charges of capital murder in Long's death and 16 counts of committing a terroristic act by shooting a rifle in a crowded place. Federal prosecutors have yet to say whether they'll seek more charges.

Muhammad, who could be executed if convicted, has pleaded not guilty. A judge issued a gag order in his case Monday, after a prosecutor complained that Muhammad's lawyer said his client was tortured while imprisoned in Yemen. Yemeni officials denied the claim.

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

More Nation & World headlines...

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

No comments have been posted to this article.

Get home delivery today!

More Nation & World

UPDATE - 10:01 AM
Rebels tighten hold on Libya oil port

UPDATE - 09:29 AM
Reality leads US to temper its tough talk on Libya

UPDATE - 09:38 AM
2 Ark. injection wells may be closed amid quakes

Armed guards save Dutch couple from Somali pirates

Navy to release lewd video investigation findings