Saturday, June 26, 2004

Iraq soldier shot to death in San Bernardino County > News > Military -- Iraq soldier shot to death in San Bernardino County

5:34 a.m. June 24, 2004

VICTORVILLE – An Army paratrooper who served in Afghanistan and Iraq was shot to death outside his mother's home, authorities said.
No arrests were immediately made.

Daniel Maldonado, 20, had been recuperating from back injuries suffered in March when he fell 70 feet from a helicopter in Iraq. A private in the 82nd Airborne Division, he was to have reported to Fort Bragg, N.C., on Thursday to take Ranger training and expected to return to Iraq.

"He was about 90 percent recovered," said his mother, Rosa Maldonado. "He had been home with us for 10 days. These were very nice days for him. He was so happy to be home."

Maldonado was drinking beer with his girlfriend and two other friends on the front lawn just after midnight when a man approached and an argument ensued, authorities said.

Moments later, a car pulled up and a passenger fired at least one shot that hit Maldonado in the chest, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

He ran back and collapsed in the garage, where he was declared dead.

Detectives said they believed the argument was unrelated to gangs or drugs.

"What are the odds that a guy can go through all that much in military action only to be killed in a street fight on American soil?" sheriff's Sgt. Derek Pacifico said.

His mother said her son joined the Army soon after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. After nine months in Afghanistan, he came home and then was redeployed to Iraq last year.


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