A U.S. congressman says he'll file legislation Thursday to make two soldiers shot outside a military recruiting station in Arkansas eligible for the Purple Heart.

Republican Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas tells The Associated Press that Pvt. William Andrew Long and Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula (ee-ZEEG'-wuh-luh) were shot because they were U.S. soldiers. He says the incident ought to be treated as if it happened in a combat zone, which would make them eligible for the military award.

Long died in the 2009 shooting. Ezeagwula still has shrapnel in his body.

The man who confessed to shooting them, Abdulhakim Muhammad, deemed himself a jihadist and professed ties to al-Qaida. He pleaded guilty this week and has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.