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Marines identify shooter, two victims at Quantico

Military officials say a Marine who shot two of his colleagues to death and then killed himself at a Virginia base was a tactics instructor who joined the corps seven years ago.

The Marines said Saturday that 25-year-old Sgt. Eusebio Lopez gunned down 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Sara CastroMata and 23-year-old Cpl. Jacob Wooley on Thursday in barracks at the Quantico base.

Lopez, of Pacifica, Calif., was a teacher at a school that tests Marines who want to become officers and his specialty was machine-gunner. He joined the Marines in May 2006 and had deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

CastroMata, of Oakley, Calif., was a warehouse clerk for the school who joined the Marines in December 2011. Wooley, of Guntown, Miss., was a field radio operator and also worked with the school. He joined the Marines in February 2010.

The Marines have not described the relationship among the three nor released a motive for the shooting.

“We send our prayers and condolences to the families, fellow Marines and friends of the Marines who were lost in this tragic incident,” Col. David W. Maxwell, the base commander, said in a statement released late Saturday night. “Our priority is to take care of and support all of those who are affected by this loss.”

Friends and family members of Wooley and CastroMata posted messages on their Facebook pages Saturday, mourning the loss.

“I am still in shock. Jacob Wooley was like a big brother to me while I was in Okinawa and I will always remember him and his kind heart,” one woman posted on Wooley’s page. “This is truly a senseless act of violence.”

“He was loved by anyone who had the privilege of knowing him. Continue praying for his beautiful family and distraught friends,” posted another.

A military member and friend of CastroMata’s wrote simply: “Rest in peace sister . . . .”

According to officials at Quantico, the incident was reported around 10:30 p.m. Thursday with an emergency call to the base Provost Marshal’s office.

The sprawling base, in Stafford, Prince William and a small part of Fauquier County, was put on Threat Condition Delta, the highest state of alert for U.S. military bases, and residents and employees were instructed to stay indoors.

A male victim eventually was found dead in the barracks common area, followed by the gunman and a woman. All were said to be members of the Officer Candidates School junior enlisted staff. No other injuries were reported.

At a press conference Friday morning, Maxwell, the base commander, said there would be a thorough, possibly lengthy, investigation. Counseling was offered at Quantico Saturday, according to the base Facebook page.

Staff writer Scott Shenk contributed to this report.