THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — It’s been more than two weeks since a fellow solider allegedly killed Pvt. First Class Abdul Latifu Jr. on the grounds of the Fort Rucker Army base in Alabama.
Latifu’s older brother, Mohammed, said his Bronx family is still seeking a complete and acceptable explanation for the 21-year-old soldier’s death on his own base.
“All they said is there was an altercation. What they told us is they are going to keep us on a ‘need to know basis.’ Bus as a grieving family, I think it is in your best interest to keep us abreast,” said Mohammed.
Army officials recently identified the suspect as fellow trainee, Pvt. Brian Jones. He reportedly used an Army issued shovel-like “entrenching tool” to fatally strike Latifu in the head.
“I believe it’s a cover-up because my brother does not fight,” said Mohammed.
Latifu was training to become an air traffic controller and comes from a family of veterans. Three of his siblings all joined the Army.
“My brother didn’t deserve to go the way he did. For somebody that is very shy and an introvert, he hardly speaks to people,” said Latifu’s older brother, Abdul Sr.
For one of those active military siblings, something just doesn’t add up, including the Army’s timeline, which began with base officials making an official family notification on Jan. 10.
“I really believe something happened prior to that because my mom called him, even on his birthday. There was no response,” said Abdul Sr.
Latifu’s birthday is on Jan. 3.
Adding to the family’s confusion, Latifu’s father said two different Army officials gave him varying explanations for the murder weapon used to bludgeon his son.
The Army did not respond to PIX11 News’ request for comment in time for this report.
“From there, I knew it was a cover-up going on. They don’t want to tell us the truth, what really transpired. We want justice, that’s it,” said Latifu’s father, Taju.
Mohammed said his family just doesn’t know how to process the loss of one of the brightest members of their family.
“To be taken away from us, at such a young age, it’s tragic. It’s a gut punch,” said Mohammed.