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Marine shot to death blocks from US Capitol in DC barracks

8th Street entrance - Marine Barracks - Washington DC (Tim Evanson/Flickr)
January 02, 2019

Authorities in Washington D.C. have determined that the shooting death of an on-duty U.S. Marine on Jan. 1 was not self-inflicted.

Riley S. Kuznia, 20, from Karlstad, Minnesota suffered a fatal gunshot wound, which was confirmed by his mother in a Facebook post.

Markelle Kuznia said on Facebook, “With broken hearts we lost a loving son, cherished brother and dedicated Marine. … Please use his Facebook account to share all the amazing memories you shared with this goofy kid. Semper fidelis!”

Around 5 a.m., a shooting was reported in the victim’s Southeast D.C. “8th & I” barracks during a shift change. The Southeast D.C. post, located about a mile southeast of the U.S. Capitol, is active and the oldest of its kind, established in 1801. The Marines call it the “Oldest Post of the Corps.”

No weapons are supposed to be loaded during shift changes as they are handed off to the next shift and then reloaded, according to the Washington Examiner. Initial reports suggest the shooting was accidental.

Kuznia was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center but died as a result of his injuries.

Capt. Colleen McFadden said “the shooting death happened before dawn on New Year’s Day and was not self-inflicted. The circumstances are still being probed,” The New York Post reported.

Police said they have not made any arrests yet, Fox 5 reported.

“The command’s priorities are to take care of the Marine’s family and friends. We want to ensure these personnel are being provided for during this challenging time,” the commanding officer of Marine barracks, Col. Don Tomichm said.

“He just wanted to serve. Ever since he was little, he talked about being a solider,” Markelle Kuznia told the Associated Press.

“When he got out (of the military), he was going to start his own construction business. He said he wanted to give five years to his country,” she said, describing the plans her son had laid out.

Kuznia was a 2017 graduate from Tri-County High School, District Superintendent Ryan Baron said. The school district of the very small town had only a little over 200 students in 2017 so Baron said he knew Kuznia “quite well.”

“He was an awesome and very friendly guy who was talking about going into the Marines. His mom was really excited too, Baron said. ”

Baron recalled that Riley was “really big into hockey” and played for the Kittson County high school cooperative team. “Everybody is friends with everybody. There are still kids here who know him, and he as a sister who is still in school in sixth grade,” Baron said.

He added that the school was adding additional counseling for anyone that needed help dealing with this tragedy.

This was the third shooting in the past six years at the Southeast D.C. barracks, Fox News reported.