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Brother of Marine killed in Afghan withdrawal kills self near brother’s memorial

A U.S. Marine Corps carry team transfers the remains of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui of Norco, California, Aug. 29, 2021 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jason Minto)
August 15, 2022

The brother of a U.S. Marine killed in the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year took his own life last week near a memorial for his fallen sibling.

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The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said the body of 28-year-old Dakota Halverson was found on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Pikes Peak Park in Norco, Calif. The park is located just down the street from the “Memorial for the Fallen 13,” which honors Halverson’s brother, Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, and the other 12 U.S. service members killed in the Kabul airport suicide bombing attack on Aug. 26, 2021.

While the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department offered few details about Halverson’s death, a GoFundMe provided more details.

“Dakota Halverson was a loving son, brother and friend,” said Shana Chappell, who set up the GoFundMe campaign. “Losing his brother nearly one year ago has proven too difficult to bear. Any donations for his burial and services would be greatly appreciated as he wanted to be buried next to his brother Kareem, who was killed August 26th, 2021, while serving his country. His family and I want to honor his wishes.”

As of Monday, Chappell’s GoFundMe campaign had already raised almost $39,000, nearly double the $20,000 original goal.

“The older brother of one of the 13 KIA in Kabul recently killed himself at his little brother’s memorial,” tweeted Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), who is a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran. “Please pray for his family. There MUST be accountability for this continued carnage.

Waltz added, “if you are a family member or veteran of Afghanistan and going to a dark place, PLEASE call a buddy or 988.”

The U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed as the Taliban seized control of the country’s capital of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021. Following the Taliban takeover, U.S. forces seized control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport and oversaw the evacuation of U.S. and western citizens, Afghan refugees, and the withdrawal of the last remaining U.S. forces in the country.

On Aug. 26, 2021, a suicide bomber associated with the Islamic State terror group’s Afghanistan branch (known as ISIS-Khorasan or ISIS-K) snuck into the crowds of evacuees and detonated a suicide bomb, killing 13 U.S. service members and about 170 civilians.

Nikoui was killed in the attack alongside fellow Marines David Espinoza, Rylee McCollum, Jared Schmitz, Hunter Lopez, Taylor Hoover, Daegan William-Tyeler Page, Nicole Gee, Humberto Sanchez, Dylan Merola, Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Navy corpsman Maxton Soviak and Army soldier Ryan Knauss.

The Kabul suicide bombing injured at least 150 additional people, including another 18 U.S. service members.