One of the Blackwater security guards involved in the September 16 shootout at Nisoor Square, Baghdad, said in a sworn statement that the diplomatic convoy he was guarding was fired upon and that he feared that an oncoming vehicle, which ignored signals to stop, was a suicide bomber.
ABC News publishes the sworn statement that the guard, identified only as "Paul," made to the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service about 48 hours after the incident. About 17 people were reportedly killed in the incident. Parts of the document, including specific names, are redacted.
He says in the statement, "As our motorcade pulled into the intersection I noticed a white four door sedan driving directly at our motorcade from the west bound lane. I and others were yelling, and using hand signals for the car to stop and the driver look directly at me and kept moving toward our motorcade. Fearing for my life and the life of my teammates, I engaged the driver and stopped the threat."
He continues, "At the same moment, I started receiving small armes fire from the [guard] shack approcimately fifty meters behind the car. I then engaged the individuals were the muzzle flashes came from. A uniformed individual then started pushing the vehicle toward the motorcade and again I shouted and engaged the vehicle until it came to a stop. I was told on our radio that the command vehicle [of the motorcade] was down, and that we were still taking fire."
The guard described shooting a man who was aiming an AK (Kalashnikov) assault rifle at a Blackwater guard in the rear vehicle of the motorcade: "Fearing for the gunner's life, I engaged the individual and stopped the threat." Paul described small arms fire coming from a red bus in the intersection, and that he returned fire at the bus, and then on an oncoming car that he feared was a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) suicide bomber.
The case is still under investigation. A Blackwater spokeswoman tells the New York Times that the company cannot comment pending the probe.