Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

British Contractor Shoots Two Colleagues in Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 9, 2009

British Contractor Shoots Two Colleagues in Iraq

By Ernesto Londoño

Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, August 9, 2009; 9:45 AM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 9 — A British private security contractor was taken into custody by Iraqi authorities in Baghdad’s Green Zone early Sunday after he fatally shot two colleagues, Iraqi officials said.

The gunman, identified as Danny Fitzsimmons, also shot an Iraqi as he attempted to flee the compound, according Iraqi officials and two other sources familiar with the incident. The Iraqi man was critically wounded, Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, a spokesman at Iraq’s Interior Ministry said.

“I can confirm the deaths of two ArmorGroup Iraq employees in the early hours of this morning in a firefight incident,” company spokesman Patrick Toyne-Sewell said in an e-mail.

He identified the slain men as Paul McGuigan, a Briton, and Darren Hoare, an Australian. Toyne-Sewell said their relatives have been notified.

“We are working closely with Iraqi authorities to investigate the circumstances of their deaths,” Toyne-Sewell said.

Khalaf said Fitzsimmosns got into a dispute with colleagues as they were drinking.

“They got into an argument and he started shooting his colleagues,” Khalaf said.

Khalaf said Fitzsimmosns is being held at an Iraqi police detention facility.

The U.S. military and the British Embassy in Baghdad said they were familiar with the report, but provided no additional information.

“We are aware of a shooting incident involving foreign nationals in Baghdad,” Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement. “The Iraqi police are investigating

The case could mark the first time a foreign security contractor faces trial in Iraq on murder charges.

The presence of foreign security contractors in Iraq is controversial because some have been accused of using unnecessary force against Iraqis.

Most foreign contractors were exempt from prosecution under Iraqi law until January 1, when a security agreement between Iraq and the United States replaced the United Nations resolution that gave them broad immunity.

Reminder to Contractors Regarding Iraqi Jurisdiction

We publish this story only to reinterate our views here on the importance of psychological screening of contractors working in the war zones.  There are many professional PSC’s doing an outstanding job and providing a much needed service.

5 Responses to “British Contractor Shoots Two Colleagues in Iraq”

  1. widow in california said

    How many more must die before they acknowledge , “Houston, I think we have a Problem”! Tom Hanks said it so well but for a different reason in his movie. Now I am saying it, HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!!! CAN YOU HEAR US?

  2. I want to know where they got liquor? All alcohol is illegal in the theater of operations, no exceptions!

    Just the old case senario, “instant asshole…just add alcohol.

    I wonder if they “collegues where Islamic? That could possibly be a large part of the problem.

  3. defensebaseactcomp said

    With information we have available now it looks like Mr Fitzsimons may have had been suffering some degree of psychological/stress related disorder.
    His comment on his facebook page regarding the War within your head and certainly his behavior should be huge signs that something more than alcohol caused this trajedy.
    Two dead, one injured, one life ruined,.
    Our thoughts are with the families.

  4. dante said

    James, anyone who had actually been in theater knows that alcohol is regularly consumed by almost everyone and generally has the effect of chilling stressed-out folks and esp. warriors for centuries. No matter if its legal or not, its tolerated even in the military, feel free to read the cases.

    Don’t go blaming alcohol for post-traumatic stress disorder in a war zone, my husband was not drunk when he shot himself, he dissociated, a well-known phenomenon to shrinks over the ages.

    Simple google searches could enlighten you, meanwhile the Taliban is surely smiling on your post: blame it all on a sundowner, lose one-third of your force and refuse to recognize the beast.

  5. dante said

    Well, this should settle the point:

    Guns and copious quantities of alcohol have long been a volatile mix in the Baghdad green zone and the fortified compounds of private security companies make for ideal party venues.

    Local police are barred from entering, the patrons earn tax-free expatriate salaries and the stress levels during the men’s day jobs are so high that they take double measures of imported spirits to bring them back down again.

    For those who want it, more licentious entertainment is on offer if you know which Iraqi to ask to arrange it for you. Since this is a war zone, private security guards always carry weapons, even when drinking.

    “I’m surprised it took so long for this to come out,” said Mr Hussein, a local fixer. He claimed that previous incidents of reckless gunplay had been hushed up, though most did not result in death.

    Security companies contracted to the US military implement a strict no-alcohol policy, but others have fewer restrictions, running regular bars from their compounds where visitors pay dollars for cans of beer or shots of vodka. It is hard to keep tabs on guards when they are off duty. Even US military officers have been known to frequent parties for a few drinks.

    One frequent visitor described the scene in the green zone as a “hidden arena of armed high jinks”, though the party scene that sprang up is quieter now than in the early years after the 2003 invasion.

    The contractors, having longstanding relations with the military and the intelligence services, also visited drinking establishments outside their compounds, one known as the “CIA Bar” and another the “FBI Bar”, though both are now closed. The favourite cocktails there were B52s, made with coffee liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream and Grand Marnier, all available at the green zone’s main alcohol store near the new US Embassy.

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