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Soldier killed in Russian roulette game was 8-year vet

Lisa Demer

The soldier killed early Sunday playing what Anchorage police say was a game of Russian roulette was a sergeant with more than eight years of service who served two tours of duty in Iraq, the Army said Tuesday.

While police and prosecutors identified the soldier on Monday, the Army held off on providing information about his military history until 24 hours after the soldier's family was told of the death. That's Department of Defense policy.

Sgt. Michael M. McCloskey, 26, was from Beverly, N.J. He joined the Army in August 2002, according to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

He served at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and Fort Bragg, N.C., before arriving in Alaska in March 2010, according to the Army. At the time of his death, he was a construction engineer with the 84th Engineer Company, 6th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

His second tour in Iraq was completed in November 2009, the Army said. McCloskey graduated from advanced training in leadership, lifesaving and an airborne course.

McCloskey spent the weekend at the Eagle River apartment of a soldier friend, Pfc. Jacob Brouch. They were drinking and posed for Facebook pictures with Brouch's weapons, Brouch later told police.

They also played Russian roulette with Brouch's .44-caliber revolver, police said. Russian roulette generally describes putting a single bullet in a six-chamber revolver, spinning the cylinder, pointing it at yourself and pulling the trigger.

McCloskey shot himself in the abdomen early Sunday, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 3 a.m.. Brouch told police that McCloskey pulled the trigger himself, according to charges filed against him. His wife and stepchildren were home, and they also were interviewed by police.

Detectives haven't released information that confirms Brouch's account.

"The detective said that the information contained in the charging document is all that will be released at this time," police spokeswoman Anita Shell said in an e-mail Tuesday.

Brouch, 25, has been charged with second-degree murder and weapons misconduct. Police say he provided the gun and ammunition, and so is responsible for what happened. The charging document says he exhibited "extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Daily News efforts to speak with families of both soldiers were unsuccessful.

Reach Lisa Demer at ldemer@adn.com or 257-4390.


By LISA DEMER
ldemer@adn.com