An eastern Idaho soldier sent to Iraq two months ago has been killed by a roadside bomb, relatives said Wednesday.
Army Cpl. Blake Stephens, 25, of Pocatello, was part of a convoy escorting an Army colonel when the device exploded Tuesday in Salman Pak, a town 18 miles south of Baghdad.
"He said the only way something would happen to him would be if there was some fluke accident like a roadside bomb, " Stephens' father, Trent Stephens, told the Idaho State Journal. "We knew something could happen, but we didn't think it would."
News of Stephens' death set off a wave of support across the city. Mayor Roger Chase ordered flags at City Hall flown at half-staff Wednesday and encouraged others across the eastern Idaho city to do the same. Others helped plant a line of flags from Century High School, where Stephens graduated in 2000, to his parents' home.
"Pocatello is extremely proud of Blake's service to his country, " Chase said. "Our hearts go out to his family at this difficult time."
The Army and Department of Defense hadn't reported Stephens' death as of Wednesday. Stephens is at least the 26th Idaho soldier to die in combat in Iraq since the United States military invaded in March 2003.