|From The New York Daily News nydailynews.com
Eight soldiers charged in death of Pvt. Danny Chen in Afghanistan Chinatown native was allegedly was bullied
Parents of dead soldier claim he was pelted with stones
BY DANIEL BEEKMAN, BRADEN GOYETTE & CORKY SIEMASZKO
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Army Pvt. Danny Chen was driven to his death in Afghanistan by sadistic fellow soldiers who assaulted him repeatedly and made fun of his Chinese ancestry, family and friends charged Wednesday.
The 19-year-old soldier from Chinatown was dragged by the bullies out of his bed, pelted with stones, hung upside down while his mouth was full of a liquid, and mocked as “Jackie Chan,” they said.
The shocking claims came as the Army charged eight soldiers in connection with the death of Chen, whose body was found in a guard tower in Kandahar Province Oct. 3.
While the Army insists Chen died of “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) said this “was not a simple suicide.”
“There's clearly more going on here, and Danny's family needs to know exactly what happened,” she said.
Chen’s weeping mother, Su Zhen Chen, said they take some comfort in knowing “that the Army is taking this seriously.”
“When Danny joined the Army, I didn’t want him to go,” she said through an interpreter at the Mott St. community center.
Chen’s dad, Yan Tao Chen, standing stoically nearby, added, “He was our only son and of course we miss him so much, especially during the holidays.”
The private’s parents, a chef and a seamstress who live in public housing on the lower East Side, are so upset they’ve even requested a smaller apartment.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin said it’s because Su Zhen Chen can’t bear to pass by her son’s empty room.
The details of Chen’s alleged hazing came from weekly letters he sent home from Afghanistan, from emails he sent to a cousin, and from the military, said family spokesman Frank Gee.
It was unclear from the Army’s statement if authorities believe the suspects drove Chen to kill himself — or pulled the trigger themselves. But a high-ranking Pentagon official, Navy Capt. John Kirby, said there is “zero tolerance” for “miscreants” who haze fellow soldiers.