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Military releases names of three Marines killed in shooting

by

(Reuters) - Military officials on Saturday released the names of two Marines killed in a shooting at a Virginia base, along with the identity of the gunman, also a Marine, who took his own life in the incident.

The shooting on Thursday at Marine Corps Base Quantico, about 40 miles south of Washington, was the second fatal non-combat incident involving Marines on U.S. soil in a matter of days.

Seven Marines died and eight other service members were wounded when a mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise on Monday at an munitions depot in Nevada.

In the Virginia incident, a Marine shot dead two colleagues at a barracks at Quantico's Officer Candidates School before turning a gun on himself.

A statement from the base identified the victims as 19-year-old Lance Corporal Sara Castromata of Oakley, California, and Corporal Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Mississippi.

The gunman was identified as Sergeant Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, California. Lopez was a tactics instructor at the school and his military specialization was as a machine-gunner, the base said. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2006 and was promoted to his current rank in July 2011.

Military spokesmen have so far declined to comment on what may have motivated the shooting at the base.

Castromata, who joined the Marines in 2011 and was promoted to her current rank in February, was serving as a warehouse clerk. She had won the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Wooley was a field radio operator who joined the Marines in 2010 and was promoted to his current rank last July.

He had won the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

"We send our prayers and condolences to the families, fellow Marines and friends of the Marines who were lost in this tragic incident," base commander Colonel David Maxwell said in the statement. "Our priority is to take care of and support all of those who are affected by this loss."

He said the incident remained under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

According to Maxwell, base security officers received a 911 call at about 10:30 p.m. on Thursday and responded within five minutes, backed up by local police. They fired no shots.

The Officer Candidates School provides basic instruction for prospective Marine officers. The sprawling Quantico base is also home to the Marine Corps' Brig military prison and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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