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The Army will open a criminal investigation to determine whether former NFL player Pat Tillman's death in a 2004 friendly fire incident in Afghanistan was the result of negligent homicide, CNN learned Saturday. Tillman gave up a $3.6 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals to become an Army Ranger after September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Tillman was initially believed to have been killed by Taliban forces but an investigation revealed that fellow soldiers shot Tillman, thinking he was part of an enemy force firing at them.
A report by the Army later found that troops with Tillman knew at the time that friendly fire had killed the football star. Officers destroyed critical evidence and concealed the truth from Tillman's brother, also an Army Ranger, who was nearby, the report found.
More than three weeks after a memorial service in San Jose, Calif., the Army announced on May 29, 2004, that friendly fire rather than an enemy encounter caused Tillman's death. However, even at the time of the memorial, top Army officials were aware that the investigation showed the death had been caused by an act of "gross negligence," the report said.