New questions are emerging surrounding the death of a Manhattan soldier, as his parents say they were informed his death was not combat-related, and that he had recently been assaulted by fellow soldiers.
U.S. Army Private Danny Chen, 19, who grew up in Chinatown and the East Village, was killed last week in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.
Chen's parents, who spoke with NY1 in Chinatown through translator Frank Gee, believe their son was the subject of racial taunts from other soldiers and may have even been physically abused in Army barracks.
“Danny was harassed in the army by a group of bullies, I would call them, and he was dragged out of bed and then beaten," said Gee. "And they have proof of the injury in the back.”
The parents were told Danny Chen was shot through the chin, but they dismissed any suggestion of suicide.
Danny Chen joined the Army in January after attending Pace High School and briefly attending Baruch College.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in August.
His parents said Danny always wanted to join the Army and also had plans to become a city police officer.
A spokesperson for the Army Criminal Investigation Command would only say that Chen's death is being investigated, and that "any discussion of possible contributing factors would be premature at this point."
Army investigators are scheduled to meet with Chen’s parents on Wednesday.
Chen's funeral is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Wing Wah Sang funeral home on Mulberry Street. It will be followed by a military burial at a cemetery in Valhalla in Westchester County.