Video of gun incident spurs Fort Drum probe

The sign on Route 11 northbound, welcoming people to the main entrance to Fort Drum. Watertown Daily Times

FORT DRUM — A video on a former soldier’s TikTok app apparently showing him overcome in fear when a gun was pointed at him prompted an investigation by Fort Drum’s Criminal Investigation Division last month.

The video posted by Spc. Kyle Benton on his TikTok account made its way back to Fort Drum officials. The 17-second video also has been the subject of media reports in the New York Post and Military.com., a website that provides information to members of the military, veterans and their families.

The video shows Mr. Benton making sure that a Beretta M9 semiautomatic piston wasn’t loaded before laying the weapon down in front of another soldier. The exchange was recorded by the other soldier.


In the video, Mr. Benton says the weapon is “clear” before he turns away from the second soldier and then turns back toward him, who aims what appears to be the loaded pistol directly at Mr. Benton.

Mr. Benton looks frightened, asking “what are you doing, sergeant?” then repeating the word “whoa” four times before the video abruptly ends.

Mr. Benton told Military.com that he posted the video in June, shortly after leaving the Army. He also said the exchange was staged, claiming the bullets were blanks.

The video then made the rounds at Fort Drum.

Maj. Harold Huff III, Deputy Public Affairs Officer with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, confirmed the CID investigation of the incident.

Since Mr. Benton is out of the Army, the investigation was closed, he said. The former infantryman declined to be interviewed by Fort Drum investigators. The identity of the second soldier was not determined.

If it was staged or not, Maj. Huff said it was “a gross misuse of a firearm.”

“The individual in this video is no longer serving in the Army,” Maj. Huff said in a statement.

“He departed military service prior to our awareness of this incident. U.S. Army soldiers are trained from the first day in Basic Training to respect all firearms. Military service is a sacred profession and this horrific video does not represent our values.”

It appears only Mr. Benton and the unidentified second soldier will ever know what really happened.

“I just want people to stop thinking I was the person holding the gun so they can stop threatening me,” Benton told the Military.com. “I will never reveal the person who was holding it.”

Since the video surfaced, Military.com uncovered that Mr. Benton has posted racial comments on Twitter after leaving the military. He also was accused on a local Antifa website of distributing Nazi propaganda at a Black Lives Matter event in Oregon.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(6) comments

Pitbull

Wow, rdsouth, you stepped in it there. The military is filled with brave, resourceful young and middle aged men and women. I served 25.5 years as a fighter pilot and risked my life for your sorry butt many, many times. As unpopular as the idea is with military brass, we need to bring back the draft or we're sunk. It would drastically reduce the number of cowardly and judgmental Americans like you. That alone would be worth it. You really need to look inward.

Eagle24

The last draft was fraught with issues...was the source of many of the protests during that period as it fed a very unpopular war... draftees typically wound up being the poor or less educated.. those with money or connections received exemptions... which just added to the anti-war sentiments .. and the reason why Nixon abolished it... Unless we learn from those issues.. it would fail again...

THanks for your service..

Pitbull

My pleasure, Eagle24. In order to work a draft needs to apply to everyone with VERY rare exceptions. College? National Guard? Flat feet? No way. Everybody does 2 years of "national service" of some sort (CCC work, First Responder Corps, Med Techs, AND all the military careers), then we keep the best for a career perhaps. The important thing is to get away from the 1% solution we have now (1% of Americans do military service). It creates two societies. We need a unifying force in our society. Exposure to a common hardship would be helpful to us all. After two years we send people back to their communities stronger and better prepared for life.

Eagle24

Mandated conscription idea has been floated before...there are still countries that have it...including Russia.. certainly a way to give back to the country...

rdsouth

Just to make it clear, the military is full of idiots. Not all idiots mind you, but they are liberally sprinkled in there.

Holmes

What happened, perhaps you didn’t join because you couldn’t meet the qualifications that the low-skill, not worthy military folks met.

Or maybe you just love your freedoms and hate danger. Maybe you like picking where you live. Maybe your spouse has a career she doesn’t want to destroy by moving every three years. Maybe you don’t want to risk getting blown up in the street while driving through a far away land.

Those freedoms? The military gave you those and ensure you keep them.

Try remembering that and then see how you feel about the military...

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