Hill AFB airman accused of building, setting off explosives at US base in Syria
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — An airman from Hill Air Force Base is accused of making and detonating bombs at a U.S. military base in Syria.
Tech Sgt. David Dezwaan was in court Tuesday for a hearing that could lead to a court martial.
Dezwaan is accused of dereliction of duty, destroying military property, and aggravated assault, among other charges.
He was deployed to Syria as a member of the 75th Air Base Wing, specializing in explosive ordnance disposal.
Tech Sgt. David Dezwaan is trained in disposing of explosives to protect others. Now, he's accused of making and setting off 2 bombs, injuring himself & three others on base in Syria. I have details from a hearing today that could send him to a court-martial. @KSL5TV at 5&630. pic.twitter.com/ePqsHnroZE
— Mike Anderson (@mikeandersonKSL) August 23, 2022
Prosecutors say Dezwaan set off two bombs in April at a base near the Iraq border.
Dezwaan was one of four service members injured in the blasts.
It’s unusual to have an inside attack within the U.S. military, so these charges are being taken very seriously.
He was supposed to be in Syria to help protect airmen and soldiers from explosives, but prosecutors said Tuesday that he assembled two bombs late one night near some showers and an area where C-4, grenades, and other munitions were stored.
Investigators said they found pictures of highly-restricted classified documents on his phone and instructions on how to make the bombs in his internet search history.
While surveillance cameras could not clearly identify Dezwaan, prosecutors say he was the only person unaccounted for during the explosions and one of the few people who knew the combinations for locks where one of the explosions took place.
His defense attorneys said prosecutors lacked evidence that showed he was the one who set off the explosives.
“Also as you’ve heard today, the government has no information on why Tech Sgt. Dezwaan would blow himself up,” military defense attorney Phil Cave said.
Cave added that there is a lack of motive.
His family set up a Go Fund Me page for defense costs.
“This is not a man who would ever harm another American soldier or himself,” his family said on the Go Fund Me account. “He has proudly served our country for nearly a decade and a half. And now, he is being driven into debt to protect himself from false accusations from his own government.”
Dezwaan earned the Air Force Combat Action Medal in 2010
“We anticipate that if it goes to trial, this will be a contested trial where we will seek to show that he is, in fact, not guilty of the charges,” Cave said.
Prosecutors believe Dezwaan caused more than $40,000 in damage and medical exams will show that his injuries were not consistent with shrapnel and may have been self-inflicted.
An air force colonel is reviewing the evidence. He said he will take his time in deciding whether to recommend a court-martial, but we could have news within the next week.
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