Former Kansas City area resident Tomas Young, a paralyzed Iraqi war veteran who became an anti-war activist, died Monday at 34, according to media reports.
Young had been in Iraq less than a week when, on April 4, 2004, he and other soldiers came under sniper fire while in the back of an open-air truck in a rescue convoy outside Baghdad. He was 24 years old.
“It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” Young later said of the sniper attack that severed his spine.
When he returned home, he became an outspoken critic against the Iraq war, former President George Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
He was interviewed on “60 Minutes” and became the subject of “Body of War,” which was produced by Phil Donahue. Musician Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam was inspired by Young to compose songs for the film.
The documentary dealt with the congressional debate over the war resolution and took an unflinching look at Young’s daily medical trials.
Young was a graduate of Winnetonka High School, class of ’98, and a few days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he joined the Army.
“I enlisted to go to Afghanistan because I felt that was, quote unquote, the right war, to go after the people that attacked us,” he said.
Young was distraught to be sent instead to Iraq, a conflict that he felt was not justified.