When former NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed in the friendly-fire incident of April 22, 2004, there were obvious holes in the story of what happened that tragic day in Afghanistan.
Ten years later, one of Tillman’s former platoon mates is saying he might have been the one who shot him.
“It is possible, in my mind, that I hit him,” Steven Elliott said to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
Elliott, 33, has since been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. He hopes speaking out might inspire other veterans suffering from the aftermath of similar events.
The other two shooters who have previously acknowledged firing at Tillman’s position declined comment to ESPN.
Tillman played college football for Arizona State University as a linebacker, and went on to play three seasons at safety for the Arizona Cardinals. When the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, Tillman felt he was needed elsewhere. He took himself off the field and enlisted in the Army in May 2002.
Tillman was killed when his platoon was ordered to remove a broken down Army Humvee from the mountains of southeast Afghanistan. A struggle in communication and an ambush attack led to a squad leader misidentifying Tillman’s group. The Rangers opened fire, killing Tillman.
“If I could change what happened, I would change it in a heartbeat. Change it in a heartbeat,” Elliott said.
Feature interviews surrounding the friendly-fire incident will air on “Outside the Lines” Sunday on ESPN. A one-hour special “Pat Tillman: Ten Years Later, An Enduring Tragedy,” will also air on ESPN on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
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