Quantico, Three Die In Apparent Murder Suicide

Shooting at Marine Base in VirginiaQUANTICO, VA. According to reports a Marine killed a male and female colleague in a shooting at a base in northern Virginia before killing himself, officials released, early Friday.

Authorities were called to Marine Corps Base Quantico, late evening on Thursday, where they found one Marine dead at a barracks, base commander Col. David W. Maxwell told reporters.

Authorities later found a 2nd victim dead, along with the body of the alleged gunman, who apparently died of self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The initial situation was described as a standoff. Maxwell, in the morning advised that there was no standoff. Base spokesman Lt. Agustin Solivan later clarified that after the first shooting, police had the alleged gunman cornered in a barracks dorm room at the base’s Officer Candidates School.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reported from Quantico that no motive has yet been established or released by authorities.

“It’s been a long night as we have begun to deal with the tremendous loss that happened last night, and on behalf of Marine Corps Base Quantico and the Officers Candidates School, I want to express my sincere condolences to the families, the friends and the Marines- of the three Marines that we lost last night,” Maxwell told reporters. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. This is truly a tragic loss again for the Marine Corps.”

No names were immediately released but officials said all three were employed at the school.

Solivan said the shooting was isolated to the school and authorities were confident that no others were injured in the incident. The base was put on lockdown after the shooting but the lockdown was lifted early Friday. During the lockdown, residents were warned over a loudspeaker to stay inside.

Friday’s shooting is the 2nd tragedy the Marine Corps have faced this week. Seven members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force were killed Monday when a mortar shell exploded in its firing tube during an exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. Eight others were injured.

The Quantico base is also home to the FBI’s training academy. The School on base is equal to the basic training Marines engage in if they’re interested in becoming officers.

According to a Marine Corps website, the mission of the School is to train, screen and evaluate candidates. The training includes theory as well as practice and physical training like endurance hikes and obstacles courses. Marines reach the level of second lieutenants on graduation due to the 10-week program.

In 2010, the Quantico base was one of many targets of an ex-Marine reservist who, during five evening shootings, fired on military targets including the Pentagon. Yonathan Melaku, on two separate occasions, fired at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico. No one was injured and Melaku was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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Debra Wattes

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