Former United States Marine Corps Reserves Sergeant Tim Carson was charged with robbing an Apple Valley bank last week, and soon confessed to numerous other recent armed robberies in several Twin Cities communities, according to the Star Tribune and other local media reports. Incredibly, Carson is a two-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, including over a year in the elite Special Operations Division.
Fellow officers, family, and friends were shocked at the charges and stories in the newspapers and on television. The police union was quick to throw Carson under the bus. "Good luck to him in jail," said Lt. John Delmonico, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, in a Star Tribune report on the day of Carson's arrest. Delmoico called the charges "disgusting and a disgrace to the badge."
Carson, a graduate of Wayzata High School, was a former member of my church and on my church's prayer chain during his deployment to Iraq. The Star Tribune summarized his service in the Reserves as follows:
Carson was a reservist with the 4th Marine Division, headquartered in the Twin Cities, from June 2000 to May 2006, military officials said Friday. He was a military policeman and achieved the rank of sergeant.
He was deployed to Iraq from Jan. 5, 2004, to Jan. 4, 2005, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Marine Corps public affairs officer.
According to military personnel records, Carson was honored with an Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and other honors.
Carson's Marine Corps service obviously does not excuse his recent behavior; in fact, it makes his alleged crimes all the more egregious. After all, once you are a Marine, you are always and forever a Marine.
Although I never met him in person, I have prayed for Tim Carson (and his brother, also in the military) and other troops we know during their deployments. Many details about his personal circumstances (which include a three-year-old daughter who required frequent hospitalization due to chronic illness) that have not been reported in the media, according to the family's wishes. Even as Carson should be held accountable under the law and provide restitution to his victims, my hope and prayer is that he somehow finds forgiveness and redemption in Christ, through family, friends, and colleagues.