ROME – Colleagues of a U.S. soldier who could face charges in Italy in the death of an Italian intelligence agent at a Baghdad checkpoint say he was "devastated" after the fatal shooting last year.
Spec. Mario Lozano, a member of the Manhattan-based 69th Infantry Regiment, told his friends on Monday that he had no idea who was in the car carrying Nicola Calipari, another agent and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena when the vehicle came toward him en route to Baghdad's airport on March 4, 2005.
"He was just doing his job. That car was moving too fast. It didn't respond to at least three warnings," Staff Sgt. Edwin Feliciano, a member of Lozano's platoon who was on the airport road that evening, told the Daily News.
"He was devastated. He couldn't sleep after that," Feliciano said. "We just had to keep telling him: 'You did what you had to do. You had to do your job.' He felt really bad. We all did."
On Monday, Italian prosecutors requested the indictment of Lozano on charges of murder and attempted murder. The prosecutor investigating the Calipari case said it would be at least two months before a judge rules on the indictment requests.
The shooting occurred shortly after Calipari had secured the release of Sgrena, who had been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital. Sgrena and the other agent, who was driving the car, were wounded.
U.S. authorities have said the vehicle was traveling fast, alarming soldiers who feared an insurgent attack.
Italian officials claimed the car was traveling at normal speed and accused the U.S. military of failing to signal there was a checkpoint.