Why do family members have doubts about US soldiers invading North Korea?

Kenosha, Wisconsin (Associated Press) — Family of U.S. Army Private I sprinted across the border Those arriving in North Korea said Wednesday they may have been overwhelmed in the face of legal problems and the possibility of a looming military discharge.

Relatives explained Pvt. Travis King, 23, was a quiet loner who didn’t drink or smoke and enjoyed reading the Bible. After growing up in Southeast Wisconsin, he was excited to serve his homeland in South Korea. Now, Dr. King’s family struggles to understand what changed before he plunged into a country with a long history of holding Americans and using them as bargaining chips.

“If he’s sane, I don’t think he’s doing that on purpose,” Karl Gates, Jr.’s maternal grandfather, told The Associated Press from his home in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “Travis is a good guy. He did nothing to hurt anyone. And it doesn’t look like he’s trying to hurt himself.”

King was due to be returned to the United States this week to undergo military reprimand after serving nearly two months in a South Korean prison for assault charges. But instead of boarding the plane to Texas on Monday as planned, King quietly joined a private tour group and left for Texas on Tuesday morning. demilitarized zone It divides South and North Korea.

Despite the legal issues looming over him, King’s relatives said they were at a loss to explain why he acted the way he did.

King’s uncle, Myron Gates, has questioned whether his nephew has mental health problems.

“I don’t understand why he did that because it looked like he was on his way back here to the US,” said Myron Gates. “He was on his way home.”

Another family member said Dr. King was devastated by the recent loss of his cousin. Rakia Nard said King was close to his 7-year-old son, Kingnazir Gates, who died in February from a rare genetic disease.

Karl Gates said his grandson enlisted in the military three years ago because of his desire to serve his country and “to do better for himself.” He has an older brother who is a police officer and a cousin who is in the Navy.

King served as a cavalry scout in the 1st Armored Division.

“He’s a nice, quiet guy,” said Karl Gates. “He doesn’t bother anyone. He keeps to himself.”

King was convicted of a crime abroad and was in danger of being discharged, according to a US official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

A court fined King in February 5 million won ($3,500) after being convicted of assaulting an unidentified person and damaging a police vehicle in Seoul last October, according to a transcript of the verdict obtained by the Associated Press.

King was also accused of punching a 23-year-old man at a nightclub in Seoul, but the court dismissed the charge because the victim did not want the soldier punished, according to the ruling. King served 47 days in prison.

King was escorted to the airport on Monday by two U.S. military personnel, a U.S. official said. He was due to board an American Airlines flight to Texas scheduled to depart at 5:40 p.m. They were to be met by military personnel upon arrival and escorted to Fort Bliss.

On the way to his departure flight, King was escorted to customs, but left the airport before boarding the plane.It is unknown how the time was spent before joining Panmunjom Border Village Tour and run across the border on Tuesday afternoon.

New Zealand tourist Sarah Leslie said King was part of a tour group and was traveling alone. At first he acts like any other traveler, buying a DMZ hat at a gift shop. He was casually dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.

After the tour ended, the group members were walking around and taking pictures. That’s when Leslie saw King running “really fast.” She thought it was a stunt.

“At first I thought he was doing really stupid pranks and stunts, like TikTok, doing the dumbest things, and maybe his buddies were filming him,” Leslie said. “But then I heard one of the soldiers shout, ‘Get that man!'”

Before the soldiers could catch him, Dr. King had crossed the border. It only took a few seconds.

U.S. officials said little about what may have motivated Dr. King.

“We are still gathering the facts,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

White House press secretary Carine Jean-Pierre said the administration is trying to determine where King was held, what conditions he was in, and why he entered North Korea. She said government officials will work to ensure his safe return to his family.

King’s mother, Claudine Gates, told reporters outside her home in Racine, Wisconsin, that she was only thinking about bringing her son home.

“I just want my son back,” she said in a video posted by Milwaukee TV station WISN. “Please bring my son home.”

King’s grandfather called on the nation to help rescue his grandson.

“We are the United States. We make things happen. As a family, we would appreciate it if you could get him out of there,” said Karl Gates. “Save his grandchildren.” Why do family members have doubts about US soldiers invading North Korea?

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