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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soldier from Arlington survived two wars only to be killed back home


    Army Spc. Orlando Salazar, a veteran of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, spent Friday night with his father, drinking a few beers at El Toro Loco in Grand Prairie and enjoying time with friends before he had to report to Fort Hood in a few days.

    There was no hint of trouble when Cesar Salazar left his 28-year-old son with friends late Friday.

    But a few hours later, Orlando Salazar was on the club’s concrete floor, where he had landed after a punch. Witnesses say he was also stomped.

    “”As I’m driving to the club, I’m thinking, ‘What happened?'”” said Cesar Salazar, who received a call from his daughter about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. “”He doesn’t like to fight. He’s always been a peacekeeper. I just kept praying to God.””

    Orlando Salazar was taken to Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, where he died shortly after he arrived.

    Grand Prairie police were questioning someone Sunday about the attack, but authorities did not release any other details.

    Cesar Salazar said that Grand Prairie police had taken a man into custody. He described the man as an acquaintance of his son and said his son had bought drinks for the man earlier that night.

    “”Officers have told me that my son and this man had had words awhile back,”” Cesar Salazar said. “”I was told that my son was sitting alone when he got hit and his head hit the concrete floor.””

    Cesar Salazar said his son had envisioned a career in the military.

    A graduate of Arlington Sam Houston High SchoolOrlando Salazar worked as a mechanic for a few years after graduation, but he decided to join the Army when he turned 23.

    “”I was worried for him when he joined because he was always the big teddy bear,”” Cesar Salazar said of his son, who was 6 feet tall and weighed 250 pounds. “”I wasn’t worried when I met his buddies because I felt like they were good people.””

    Orlando Salazar completed a 15-month tour in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan before coming home in December. He was scheduled to head to Fort Hood in just over a week.

    “”He survived two tours,”” his father said. “”He’s supposed to be safe on American soil.””

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