A U.S. Marine was shot and killed Tuesday morning inside the Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill in Southeast Washington, prompting a District of Columbia police investigation.
Two officials with knowledge of the investigation said that it appears the Marine was struck by an accidental discharge from another Marine’s weapon.
Authorities cautioned the investigation is in its beginning stages.
No arrests have been made and police classified the case as a “death investigation,” an indication that, at least for now, investigators do not believe a crime was committed. The shooting occurred about 5 a.m. A Marine Corps spokeswoman, Capt. Colleen McFadden, said she could only confirm that the victim did not suffer “a self-inflicted injury.”
The name of the victim, described as in his early 20s, was not made public on Tuesday. Police, who lead all death investigations in the District, said they were reaching out to the victim’s relatives. The military typically makes names of deceased members public 24 hours after next of kin have been notified.
A District police report says the Marine was shot about 5:05 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 5:59 a.m. at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
As a result, the post canceled its traditional New Year’s Day serenade, scheduled for Tuesday, a formal affair in which an audience is invited as the Marine Corps Band plays for the commandant at his home.
In a statement from Marine Barracks Washington, Col. Don Tomich, the commanding officer, said officials are taking care of the victim’s family and friends “during this challenging time.”
The statement confirmed the Marine died but did not provide any other details, including the victim’s age, assignment or in which building the shooting occurred on the installation that is also known by its address, “8th and I.”
“No threat to local residents exists,” the statement says.
The Marine Barracks Washington, founded in 1801 by President Thomas Jefferson, is the oldest active Marine Corps post. Its personnel perform both ceremonial and security missions in the District and is home to the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Marine Band, as well as the site of the Home of the Commandants. The post is south of Eastern Market and next to a newly sprouted night life and restaurant district called Barracks Row.
Tuesday’s shooting marks at least the second time in six years that a Marine suffered a gunshot wound at the compound.
In June 2018, a Marine standing guard at the home of the commandant suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was hospitalized. The Marine survived what at the time was describe by officials as a negligent discharge of a weapon.
In 2013, a 19-year-old Marine from South Dakota suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Authorities said they believed Lance Cpl. Cody S. Schoenfelder accidentally shot himself in the building where the commandant lives.
Authorities did not describe the circumstances that led up to Tuesday’s fatal shooting nor what caused them to believe it might be accidental.