TAMPA (CN) - After firing a guard who threatened to kill U.S. soldiers, a private security firm rehired him and he shot to death two GIs in Afghanistan, the families claim in court.
Three other people were wounded by Tundra Strategies employee Shia Ahmed, an Afghan citizen Tundra armed with an AK-47 and body armor, the families claim in Federal Court.
Families of the late Rudy Acosta and Donald Mickler Jr. sued Tundra Strategies, the Tundra Group, Robert MacIntyre and MacIntyre Family Holdings for wrongful death.
Co-plaintiffs Chris Hemwall, Patrick Shelley and Zackary Hombel were wounded in the March 19, 2011 shootings at Forward Operating Base Frontenac.
"The Tundra security guard had previously been fired by Tundra because he had threatened to attack United States troops," the complaint states. "At the time that he was fired, Tundra's manager specifically recommended that this individual, who posed such a dangerous threat, not be rehired. Tundra failed to properly document the guard's threats, the circumstances of his firing, and failed to report to the United States military the danger the guard posed to U.S. and coalition military forces. As a result of Tundra's actions and inactions, the security guard was rehired by Tundra." The complaint adds: "Within days of being rehired by Tundra, he carried out his prior threats with the weapon provided by Tundra. The guard launched an attack, killing Rudy Acosta and Donald Mickler Jr. inside the 'protected' security zone at FOB [Forward Operating Base] Frontenac. At the same time, Chris Hemwall, Patrick Shelly, and Zackary Hombel were seriously wounded. According to the post-incident Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigation, not a single Tundra manager or guard took any action to stop the attack or protect the men serving at FOB Frontenac. It was only because of the actions of other U.S. solders serving at FOB Frontenac who took on and fatally wounded the shooter that a greater number of men and women were not killed or wounded. A later search of the shooter's quarters by U.S. military investigators revealed large amounts of different types of narcotics, including hashish and opium."
The survivors claim that "Tundra, a private security contractor, promised to but did not measure up to basic, contractual obligations to screen, evaluate, and monitor the guards at certain military installations overseas. ...
"The [November 2009] agreement required that Tundra perform ordinary and necessary safety precautions to protect the men and women living, working and serving at FOB Frontenac. Among other things, Tundra was required to screen and vet security guards, ensure that the guards were properly processed and that documentation was in place for any security guards who were disciplined or fired, and monitor the guards in general, and to prevent the use of possession of drugs/narcotics by the guards."
In its advertising, "Tundra claims they 'specialize in threat assessment, protective services, training, intelligence gathering and analysis,' with 'extensive experience developing and implementing procedures for assessing risks, to include implementing the measures to mitigate them,'" the complaint states.
But that's not what happened.
"Ahmed, the attacker, was hired by Tundra in May 2010 and worked for Tundra at FOB Blackhawk (Spin Boldak) until July 5, 2010," the complaint states. "He was fired by Tundra's manager at FOB Blackhawk for threatening to kill U.S. armed forces and coalition forces. At the time he was fired, Tundra's manager reported that he should not be rehired because he posed a danger to U.S. and coalition forces.
"In March 2011, Tundra rehired Ahmed and this time sent him within two days of his hiring to FOB Frontenac and armed him with an AK-47 and body armor. Prior to arming any local national, such as Ahmed, Tundra was required to send an 'arming request' to the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A). And prior to submission of the arming request, Tundra was required to review all background information that is or should be known about the person seeking employment to determine if he is disqualified from handling a weapon or ammunition. Tundra was also required to conduct a full spot enrollment and never issued a letter of authorization to permit him to be armed.
"In addition, Ahmed volunteered, and Tundra placed him, with a QRF [Quick Reaction Force] which provided him with greater mobility and allowed him greater access to internal secure areas of the FOB.
"On the morning of March 19, 2011, Rudy Acosta and plaintiffs Hemwall, Shelly, and Hombel, along with other members of their squadron were conducting weapons cleaning in preparation for an upcoming mission. At that time, a convoy of contracted trucks arrived at the FOB and were escorted by the QRF, including Ahmed, to the container area located next to the location where plaintiffs were situated. Ahmed approached plaintiffs and their fellow squadron members and drew his weapon and engaged them with well-aimed automatic fire. He fired all rounds of the first magazine and then reloaded. Plaintiffs and other members of their squadron were caught without their weapons loaded and it took a few minutes before any of the soldiers could maneuver out of the line of fire to load and return the fire. However, once the squadron members were able to fire on Ahmed, his body armor protected him and it took numerous rounds to ultimately kill him.
"Following the attack, the U.S. Army investigated and discovered, among other things, that Ahmed had in his possession illicit drugs, including hashish and opium.
"A subsequent investigation by the U.S. Army found that, among other things, Tundra failed to properly document internally the firing of Ahmed in 2010, failed to properly document the subsequent arming of Ahmed for FOB Frontenac, failed to monitor Ahmed in a manner that would have revealed his possession of illicit drugs, and failed to insure that it had proper procedures and documentation processes in place to prevent the rehiring of an individual that Tundra had previously fired because of his threats to U.S. and coalition forces."
The plaintiffs seek punitive damages.
The two defendants Tundra Strategies Incs., are a Bahamas and a Canadian corporation.
The late Rudy Acosta's parents, Dante and Carolyn, live in Los Angeles County.
Donald Mickler Sr. is his late son's sole surviving parent.
Of the wounded, Chris Hemwall lives in Monroe, Mich,; Patrick Shelley in Marana, Ariz.; and Zackary Homble in Norfolk, Va.
They are represented by Michael Allweiss with Allweiss & Allweiss, of St. Petersburg. In a July 2012 federal complaint they filed against Tundra in Los Angeles, they were represented by Michael Doyle of Doyle Raizner.
The Acostas filed a similar federal complaint this week in Albany, N.Y. In that case, they are represented by Kreindler and Kreindler attorney Daniel Rose.
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