FORT BLISS, Texas (NBC NEWS) – Two soldiers based at Fort Bliss, Texas, were each being held on $1 million bond Thursday and accused of executing a teenager with a bullet to the neck.
Pvt. Tyler Shane Hall and Sgt. Eric Duvall were arrested and charged with murder three days after police on Sunday found the body of 16-year-old Michael Tapia on a desolate stretch of desert outside El Paso, NBC News reported.
An autopsy revealed Tapia had been killed Jan. 16. with a shot to the back of the neck, the El Paso Times reported.
“It is believed that the murder was narcotic related,” the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Hall, 20, and Duvall, 25, both assigned to the 1st Armored Division, are being held in the El Paso County Detention Facility.
The two soldiers were identified by witnesses who told cops they showed-up at the East El Paso house in which Tapia had been staying and demanded to see him, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the El Paso newspaper.
When Hall accused Tapia of stealing drugs from him, the teenager offered to pay them back, the paper reported.
“Let’s go,” the men replied and marched off with Tapia.
They returned about an hour and a half later without the teenager and the witnesses said Duval was holding an AR-15 rifle, according to the paper.
When they asked where Tapia was, Hall laughed.
“I shot him in the head,” Hall allegedly said. “I did a double tap on his head.”
“We killed him,” Duvall allegedly added and confirmed that Hall pulled the trigger.
The witnesses told police they didn’t come forward sooner because they were afraid of the soldiers and one of them said he’d been shot by Duvall before but didn’t press charges, the paper reported.