A cloud of mystery still surrounds the New Year’s Day shooting of a US Marine at the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC.
Minnesota native Lance Corporal Riley Kunzia was shot dead in the predawn hours on Tuesday, a tragic incident which the Metropolitan Police Department are still investigating.
As of right now, 20-year-old Kunzia’s death is neither an accident nor a crime.
“MPD is conducting a death investigation, as opposed to a homicide investigation,” police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz told NBC News on Wednesday.
Kunzia’s mother, Markelle Kunzia, was given the bad news on the same day, but was not given any real details into how he died.
“We don’t know what happened,” she said. “We just know it wasn’t self-inflicted.”
Kunzia is remembered as a young man who wanted nothing more than to answer the call to duty.
“He would tell me, ‘Mom I need to be challenged, I need to be tested.’ He wanted to be a Marine,” she said. “He wanted the camaraderie; he wanted to be challenged, to be pushed to the limits,” she said. ‘”He said, ‘I want to do this for my country.'”
No stranger to hard work, Kunzia was known for restoring broken trucks and working on nearby farms, and had dreams of getting into a special operations unit.
But now, it seems, there is only a missing piece in a Minnesota rural family, with a father, mother and three siblings looking for answers.
“We knew it was always possible” for him to be killed on duty, Markelle Kuznia said. “But you can’t stop your kids from dreaming and going for it. You have to just let them go and let them be.”
The incident remains under investigation.
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