WASHINGTON - A U.S. Army soldier on peacekeeping duty in Kosovo has been charged with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty in the killing last month of a 6-year-old Albanian boy, U.S. officials said Friday.
The charges were against Pfc. Nicholas E. Young, whose M249 squad automatic weapon discharged outside the Gornja Slatina School, striking Gentrit Rexhepi in his upper chest and left arm. The boy died of his injuries.
Young is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment of the 1st Armored Division.
The maximum sentence that the charges against Young carry is 3 years in confinement, dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to private and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
The incident occurred July 10 as Young and other soldiers assigned to the NATO-led Kosovo Force were helping to prepare the Gornja Slatina School's outer grounds for the coming academic year, officials said.
Details of the investigation of the incident will not be released until after the legal proceedings against Young are completed, U.S. Army Europe officials said in a brief written statement made available at the Pentagon.