Sunday, May 14, 2006

Bad Choices

From this morning's Post Standard:

When Justin S. LaBrake brought a live hand grenade to the East Syracuse police station Friday, he figured he was just doing the right thing.

"I was trying to help them out," LaBrake said Saturday. "I was just trying to keep it out of other people's hands."

The police didn't see it that way. LaBrake, 22, of DeWitt, was charged with felony weapons possession and sent to the Onondaga County Justice Center jail to await bail.

The charge in all likelihood will be reduced. But he will have a felony arrest record. I hate to see this happen to an apparently good kid who served his country honorably and then screws up.

"LaBrake should not have brought the grenade through village streets to the police, but should have called police to come to the grenade, East Syracuse police Chief Douglas Robertson said Saturday. Robertson said he felt the felony charge was justified.

"You're not supposed to have a live hand grenade. Society frowns on it," Robertson said.

LaBrake is not unfamiliar with grenades. The former 10th Mountain Division soldier, who says he was honorably discharged in December, spent two tours of duty in war zones. Last year, he was in Iraq, he said. In 2002, he served 11 months in Afghanistan.

It was in Afghanistan that LaBrake got the grenade, a phosphorus bomb meant to burn equipment or vehicles, he said.

"We were on a mission at the end of the tour," LaBrake said. "They had boxes of them in the back of the Humvee in case we got ambushed or rushed."

There were a lot of them, he said. He figured one would make a good souvenir.

"I was immature, and it was my first tour," he said. "

Man, some bad choices here dude. Wish you luck with that.

I'll keep you readers updated on this.

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