3 Marines die in shooting at Quantico

Col. David Maxwell , the base commander, addresses a news conference at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va. The deaths were at the Officer Candidate School on the base. PETER CIHELKA / Free Lance-Star, AP
Col. David Maxwell , the base commander, addresses a news conference at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Va. The deaths were at the Officer Candidate School on the base. PETER CIHELKA / Free Lance-Star, AP

Authorities say it was an isolated murder-suicide, not a terrorist attack.

Posted: March 24, 2013

WASHINGTON - Two Marines were shot and killed late Thursday at the Officer Candidate School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and the suspected shooter, also a Marine, fatally shot himself inside a barracks on the base, authorities said.

The shooter gunned down a man before seizing a woman and killing her and then himself, officials said. They declined to publicly discuss a possible motive in the attacks, but said the incident was neither a terrorist incident nor an attempt to cause mass casualties.

They said the gunman and victims were members of the same unit and knew one another. "This was an isolated incident," said Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon. "At no point was this suspected to be a mass shooting."

A senior military official who works at the Pentagon, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a romantic entanglement might have prompted the shootings. The official cautioned, however, that the investigation is ongoing.

The base, which also houses the FBI's training academy, is about 30 miles southwest of Washington, in Prince William County, Va.

On Friday, officials did not disclose the names and and ranks of the three dead Marines. The identities are being withheld until 24 hours after family members are notified.

Thursday night's shootings occurred in the Taylor Hall barracks at the Officer Candidate School, according to the base commander, Col. David Maxwell. He told reporters that all three of the Marines were staff members at the school and that all officer candidates there were safe and accounted for.

He would not say what the three did at the school. Some officer candidates in training at Quantico are experienced Marine Corps enlisted men and women and others are new to the Marines. Those who complete the course, which lasts about three months, are commissioned into the Marine officer ranks as second lieutenants.

"Base is a bit of a somber place today," said Laura Gleckel Unger, a resident there. "Living in a neighborhood surrounded by families, some of whom work at [the officer school], is always hard. You pray that it isn't your neighbor or anyone you know, but at the same time you know they will all be affected."

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