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Pregnant wife, family mourn loss of Marine shot, killed during “dry fire” exercise

Lance Corporal Jonothan Barnette

Kelcey Caulder

Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

Oct. 19—A North Georgia family is mourning the loss of a Marine killed in a training accident earlier this month, Lance Cpl. Jonothan Barnette, 24, who is survived by his pregnant wife and daughter.

On Oct. 3, Barnette, stationed in North Carolina, was on a training mission in California. He died after sustaining a small arms gunshot wound during dry fire rehearsal training, according to a statement from 1st Lt. Sydney E. Murkins of the 2nd Marine Division. Barnette was pronounced dead around 6:30 p.m. that day.

The Barnette family said documents provided to them by the Marines show Jonothan Barnette was not wearing personal protective equipment during the training exercise, and they don’t understand why.

“[The] cause of the incident is under investigation, and we are cooperating with appropriate authorities as they conduct their investigation,” Murkins said in the statement. “More information will be available when the investigation is complete.”

A native of Chatsworth, Jonothan Barnette grew up in Murray County, Georgia. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2018 and attended recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, in June 2019.

Barnette received several honors in the years that followed, including the national defense service medal, global war on terrorism service medal, Navy Arctic service ribbon and the sea service deployment ribbon. Before his death, he was a rifleman with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines.

In May of this year, he married Savannah Barnette and became a father to her 8-year-old daughter, Kenleigh. Savannah Barnette is pregnant with their child.

As they await the outcome of the investigation, the Barnette family is focused on two things: being there for one another through their grief and ensuring Jonothan’s memory lives on.

Savannah Barnette found out over the weekend that her baby is a boy. She plans to name the child Jonothan Franklin Barnette Jr. Kenleigh Barnette plans to make sure her new little brother knows all about his father.

In a post to her Facebook page dedicated to Jonothan, Savannah Barnette said Kenleigh told her “she’s gonna be a big girl and tell our baby all about you and how you was the best daddy there is in the whole world.

“I will never get over this, and I don’t think I’ll ever be OK. You took a huge part of me with you, but I will do as I always promised you I would and I will take care of our kids and make sure they never forget you,” she continued in the post.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by a Marine who served with Barnette, David Avila, to benefit the family.

“[ Jonothan Barnette] was one of those men who would go out of his way to look out for his peers regardless of the task and request and ensured the well being and high morale of his friends,” Avila said in a post to the page. “If you were to ask him for a pinch of tobacco he would make a sly joke and give it to you even if it was the last bit he had for himself, because that was the type of man he was. He put his brothers above himself in every way. It’s time we do the same for him.

“We promised to not let his family suffer alone during these difficult times and want them to be financially supported so they can focus on their grief and not have any added hardships,” Avila wrote.

As of Monday evening, the fundraiser had raised more than $22,500.

The funeral service for Jonothan Barnette will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Ponders Melrose Chapel in Dalton, Georgia. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 6-8 p.m on Tuesday.

Barnette will be buried with full military honors in Ponders Murray Memorial Gardens.


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