Police Continue to Investigate Fatal Shooting at Marine Barracks Washington

This 2017 photo provided by Morgan Kuznia shows her brother Riley Kuznia at his Marine graduation ceremony in San Diego. (Morgan Kuznia via AP)
This 2017 photo provided by Morgan Kuznia shows her brother Riley Kuznia at his Marine graduation ceremony in San Diego. (Morgan Kuznia via AP)

The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department continues to investigate the shooting of Lance Cpl. Riley Kuznia, who was killed Jan. 1 while on duty at Marine Barracks Washington.

Police have classified the case as a death investigation rather than a criminal one, indicating they do not currently believe a crime was committed.

According to a public police report, six police officers responded to a call of a shooting at the 800 block of I Street SE, site of the barracks, at 5 a.m. Tuesday. Officers found that an unidentified person (Subject 2) had been "handling a firearm" and "Subject 1 [Kuznia] was shot and transported to Washington Hospital Center" where, despite lifesaving measures, he was pronounced dead at 5:59 a.m.

Marine Corps officials Thursday said another Marine guard fired his service weapon and the bullet struck Kuznia, who also was on duty at the time. The incident occurred inside the walls of Marine Barracks Washington and at no time were local residents in danger, they said.

"The safety and well-being of the Marines, sailors and civilians here at the Barracks is paramount and something we take very seriously," Col. Don Tomich, commanding officer of Marine Barracks Washington, said in a release.

Service officials declined to say why the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which usually oversees on-base incidents, is not conducting the investigation. Washington, D.C., police share jurisdiction of federal properties with federal law enforcement, including military bases.

Gunnery Sgt. John Jackson said guards on duty at the barracks carry the M9 service pistol. During special security events, they carry the M4 service rifle. Officials have not disclosed what type of weapon was involved in the incident.

The shooting led the service to cancel a traditional ceremony scheduled for later that day, the Surprise Serenade, in which the Marine Corps Band plays for the commandant and his guests at his home on the post.

The Marine involved was relieved of his guard duties and has been reassigned to administrative duties pending the completion and outcome of the investigation.

From 2013 to 2018, the Marine Corps reported 54 cases of negligent discharges that resulted in the deaths of three on-duty and three off-duty Marines, according to a safety bulletin issued by the service. Between fiscal 2016 and late October, Marines lost more than 1,700 days of work to negligent discharges.

In June, a service member at Marine Barracks Washington suffered non-threatening injuries while standing guard, the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In 2013, another Marine was killed at the Barracks as the result of a gunshot.

In the wake of Kuznia's death, a battalion chaplain and battalion psychologist are providing counseling to Marines who request it, and a Military and Family Life counselor is available as well, Jackson said.

Tomich said Wednesday the Corps is "truly saddened by this terrible loss."

"Riley was a highly driven and goal-oriented Marine whose positive attitude set the example here at the barracks," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Riley's family and friends, and our priority continues to be taking care of them during this tragic time."

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciankime.

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