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21-year-old Marine stabbed in neck, killed after trying to break up fight

Lance Cpl. Ryan Evan Harris was killed at age 21. (U.S. Marine Corps)
January 08, 2018

A U.S. Marine was recently killed while trying to break up a fight in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, according to Fox 40 News.

Lance Cpl. Ryan Evan Harris, who was 21, was stationed at Camp Pendleton and assigned to the 1st Marine Logistics Group. Harris worked as a diesel mechanic at the base.

While out with some of his fellow Marines a day before New Year’s Eve, he was stabbed in the neck. The stabbing happened while he attempted to break up a fight.


Harris, who grew up in Eleverta, California, was supposed to return to his hometown for New Year’s Eve after visiting the Gaslamp Quarter, which is a popular entertainment district in Downtown San Diego.

According to Harris’ grandfather Larry Holt, “He should have been back yesterday, but he was killed the day before.”

Police were called to the scene at 1:30 A.M at 500 Island Avenue. Harris was found with a stab wound in his upper torso and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Holt also said in an interview with Fox 40 News that his grandson “was trying to intervene,” and “[that’s] what his commanding officer told us. Said he did what a Marine should do.”

Dianna Holt, who is Harris’ grandmother, said: “He’s everything any grandparent or parent would want for a child.”

Two men have been arrested by police in connection to Harris’ death, according to the Marine Corps Times.

The Times reported: “Jose Oscar Esqueda, 30, and Jeff Shai Holliday, 24, were both arrested on Dec. 30 and booked into the county jail, police said. Esqueda has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon; while Holliday faces charges of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and a probation violation.”

In California, second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentencing of 15 years to life.

Prior to moving to Camp Pendleton, Harris lived with his grandparents, who raised him. According to Harris’ Facebook page, he attended American River College and Rio Linda High School.

Harris received several awards while in the military, which include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal. In August 2016, he became a lance corporal. According to the 1st Marine Logistics Group, Harris attended boot camp in 2015 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Harris became a newlywed less than a year ago. Other loved ones that he leaves behind include his parents, two brothers, a sister and his grandparents, according to The Sacramento Bee.