Wash. Busts 'Ready to Snap' Army Colonel

Allegedly hired hit man, from same base as Afghanistan shooter
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2012 6:58 AM CDT
Underwood was stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord, the same base where the sergeant accused of massacring civilians in Afghanistan was stationed.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – Police in Washington state have arrested an Army lieutenant colonel described as "ready to snap" by his commanding officer. Robert Underwood, 46, has been charged with felony harassment for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill his wife and the commanding officer. Prosecutors say Underwood, who is in the middle of a bitter divorce battle, also threatened to blow up the state Capitol building and spoke of joining the Taliban. He was reported to police by his girlfriend, who says he threatened to kill her as well after she found child pornography—involving a young female relative, and possibly children in either Afghanistan or Iraq, where he served—on his laptop.

"The totality of everything sounded like he was having some issues and could pose a real threat,” a sheriff’s spokesman tells the News Tribune. "We weren’t going to wait to find out and have somebody get hurt." Underwood, who served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, was 9 years old when his mother killed his two siblings and shot him five times, leaving him for dead. He told the military he had no lingering emotional problems from the incident but his wife disagreed, telling police he was a "loose cannon" with "an arsenal of weapons."

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