After several news outlets reported new findings which revealed Sgt. La David Johnson was never captured and fought until his death, the slain soldier’s family has slammed military officials for keeping them in the dark.
On Monday morning, Sgt. Johnson’s sister and mother appeared on CNN’s “New Day,” where they said they had to find out the latest update through Facebook because the pentagon has been very quiet.
“We find out everything via social media,” La David’s sister Richshama told CNN when asked how military officials explained the investigation. “They haven’t talked to our family about where was his whereabouts. They haven’t briefed us the proper way like they were supposed to.”
The sergeant’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, said she learned the most recent findings of the investigation from a Facebook post while having a pre-interview dinner Sunday night with CNN staff.
“I ran out of the restaurant because they never notified us that that was the final investigation,” Jones-Johnson said.
Johnson’s mother also expressed a frustration with the military for not being upfront with their family from the beginning.
“I want the truth,” Jones-Johnson said. “If they would’ve just told us the truth behind the situation from day one, we won’t even be sitting here because we would have closure and we can move on from this.”
“And if they would’ve just told us that he did get killed in the line of duty and he was captured, we would have understood.”
Johnson was an American hero who gave his life for the citizens of the country and now his family wants the military to show him the same respect.
“He honored the Army and I just wish they would have honored him the way he honored them,” Cowanda Jones-Johnson said.
A recent military investigative report has revealed Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson died in a shootout with the enemy while taking cover in heavy brush. These findings dispute previous reports that the Green Beret was captured and/or tortured during the ambush in Niger.
Sgt. Johnson was struck as many as 18 times by members of an Islamic State, who shot M-4 rifles from a distance, reported the Associated Press.
According to military officials, Johnson was part of a 12-member Army Special Forces unit who were assisting 30 Nigerian forces during the attack. As a result of the ambush, Sgt. Johnson, 25, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, were killed.
While moving on foot, the U.S. and Nigerian soldiers were attacked in a wooded area by as many as 50 militants. During the attack, Johnson and two Nigerian soldiers tried to get to an escape vehicle. However, they were unsuccessful and instead became separated from the others.
Johnson, who was known to be a fast runner, was able to run away the farthest and take cover in thick brush. Military officials believe Johnson fought until the very end.
After the attack, the bodies of three U.S. Green Berets were located immediately, but Johnson’s remains were not found until two days later, leading some to believe he was taken away by the enemy.
The new reports from the military have led some to question the U.S. involvement in Niger. Others have also demanded the pentagon release a full report about why Green Berets were in Niger, what happened during the attack, and why it took so long to locate Sgt. La David Johnson.