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Quantico responds to on-base violence

In the wake of the double murder–suicide last month at Marine Corps Base Quantico, the Corps is implementing a program aimed at preventing such violence.

The Violence Prevention Program is modeled on training developed after the November 2009 mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas, where 13 soldiers were killed, said 1st Lt. Agustin Solivan, a spokesman at the Quantico base.

The first of three courses is scheduled to be held  Tuesday at Quantico, where three staff personnel with the base’s Officer Candidates School died in the shooting on the night of March 21.

“The loss of one’s own is a hard blow for any leader, but a threat to the well-being of a unit from the inside has leaped to a top priority,” said Cpl. Paris Capers in a recent news release from the Quantico base.

Some form of the course is required for all base personnel. It focuses on teaching small-unit leaders how to recognize and report potential threats.

In addition to developing a system to help prevent such situations, the program will help the Marines respond to incidents when they do happen.

The March 21 shooting “stands as a reminder of how real the insider threat is to the Marine Corps,” Pete Russett, director of Mission Assurance, said in the release. “Though no one can accurately predict the behavior of others, this program is designed to allow base personnel to recognize and report behavior that may be indicative of potential violence.”

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has said that Sgt. Eusebio Lopez was the shooter in the incident at the elite Officer Candidates School.

The 25-year-old Lopez, Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, and Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, were all found dead at the OCS barracks after the nighttime shooting.

Castromata, of Oakley, Calif., was a warehouse clerk who joined the Marine Corps in 2011. Wooley, of Guntown, Miss., was a field radio operator who joined the Marine Corps in 2010.

Lopez, of Pacifica, Calif., was a machine gunner and tactics instructor. He joined the Marine Corps in 2006 and was a decorated Marine who served in Iraq.

NCIS has not released information on a motive for the shooting or described the relationship among the three.

On Monday, Col. Sean Gibson with the Marine Corps Combat Development Command said there was no new information on the investigation at this point.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

 

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