Skip to main content

'A long night' at Quantico Marine base: 3 dead in shooting

By Joe Sterling. Alison Harding and Shannon Travis, CNN
March 22, 2013 -- Updated 2354 GMT (0754 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The shooter gunned down a man and a woman, base officials said
  • The shooter then apparently killed himself, they said; all are Marines
  • The incident was reported Thursday night
  • Victims are personnel in the officer candidate school

Washington (CNN) -- A Marine shot and killed two of his fellow service members at a Virginia base Thursday night and then apparently killed himself, base officials said.

The incident took place at Marine Corps Base Quantico. The shooter gunned down a man and a woman, the spokesmen said. All are Marines -- permanent personnel assigned to the officer candidate school.

Authorities did not disclose a motive and were investigating the incident. The identities of the victims were not immediately disclosed as authorities worked to notify next of kin.

"It's been a long night," Col David Maxwell, the base commander, said Friday.

3 dead at Quantico Marine Base shooting
Shooting at Quantico
Marines ask for prayers after shooting

The incident shocked the military community. It comes as the Corps grieves over another tragedy: the deaths of seven U.S. Marines in a training exercise in Nevada on Monday.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel "was saddened to learn of the shootings at Marine Corps Base Quantico," Pentagon spokesman George Little said Friday.

"This tragedy, as well as the tragedy in Nevada earlier this week, took the lives of Marines who volunteered to serve their nation. His heart and his prayers are with them and their families. He believes that the legendary strength of the United States Marine Corps will ensure that they are forever remembered," Little said.

Base lockdown

Early Marine accounts said the notification of the shooting came late Thursday when authorities found one dead victim.

Using a public address system, police announced a lockdown at the base and surrounded the building where the suspect was believed to be barricaded. They ordered everyone to stay in their homes, doors locked, they said.

Authorities from the base and Prince William County, Virginia, surrounded the shooter, who was in a barracks not far from where the first shooting occurred.

Law enforcement officials entered the barracks two hours later and discovered the shooter dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. The female victim was in the room with him, fatally shot.

The lockdown ended early Friday, a few hours after it started.

As dawn rose over the base, Maxwell told reporters that there were no barricades or a standoff but did not elaborate. The incident was confined to a single barracks at the candidate school.

He said "quick" police reaction helped resolve the situation, first reported at 10:30 p.m. via an emergency call. Soon, security was heightened and a mass notification was issued throughout the base. Base restrictions were lifted a few hours later.

Others in the officer candidate school were "accounted for and safe."

"As we take care of our Marines and their families that are dealing with this tragedy, I'd also ask for the support of our neighbors, the community, and their thoughts and prayers as well for our Marines who have lost their comrades-in-arms," Maxwell said.

Quantico, a historic hothouse of Marine ideas and training

Visitors to the base will see a grand statue: the Iwo Jima Monument. It gives all who enter pause about the important role the base has played training generations of Marines in forging military doctrine and fighting America's wars.

The statue depicts the historic flag-raising on Mount Suribachi, on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, during the famous World War II battle there.

The Quantico base, started during World War I, has been integral in training, education and forging military doctrine for America's battles.

Early on, amphibious warfare was, the corps said, "conceived and perfected" there. The Marines there came up with the idea "of carrying troops from ship to shore by helicopter."

Now, it's home to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, which conducts experiments in modern warfare.

"This is perhaps the only command whose mission touches the farthest reaches of the Corps; decisions made here impact Marines aboard ship, fighting in the Global War on Terrorism, on guard duty at embassies across the globe and reserve duty throughout the United States," the Marines said.

Federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI, share training facilities there.

The base also has a reputation across popular culture as a key national security training location. Jack Ryan, writer Tom Clancy's well-known character in novels and films, for example, took officer training there.

CNN's Jason Hanna and Jake Carpenter contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0434 GMT (1234 HKT)
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT