(UnitedVoice.com) – One US Marine is dead and another is in custody after an apparent homicide at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It’s still not clear exactly what happened — or whether the incident will interfere with a scheduled major exercise.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune covers 246 square miles and 14 miles of beach near Jacksonville, North Carolina. It’s the home of the USMC’s II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) and the USMC Special Operations Command (MARSOC), and it’s the largest Marine base on the East Coast; in all, the camp and surrounding area contain 38,778 active duty military, almost 39,000 family members and more than 3,000 civilian workers.
On October 18, an incident broke out in a Marine barracks and ended with one marine, identified as Lance Cpl. Austin B. Schwenk, falling victim to homicide. Around 10:15 p.m., service police took a marine into custody; in a statement, the base said he’s being treated as a suspect in the killing. According to Military.com, Schenwenk was shot.
Lance Cpl. Austin B. Schwenk, 19, died in the shooting in a Camp Lejeune barracks late Wednesday in what service officials described as an “isolated incident between two Marines.”https://t.co/l5qurkxxqQ
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) October 20, 2023
This isn’t the first incident at Camp Lejeune. In 2021, a marine was wounded in a barracks shooting, although this turned out to have been an accident. That followed decades of chemical contamination of the base’s drinking water supply after solvents were regularly dumped or buried near wells. Marines and their families were being exposed to up to 3,400 times the safe level of toxic chemicals.
Up to two million people could have been affected, and residents blame the contamination for a cluster of rare cancers around the base. Hundreds of former residents have tried to sue the Department of Defense over the scandal, but courts haven’t been sympathetic. However, in 2012, the Senate passed the Janey Ensminger Act, named after a Marine NCO’s daughter who died of cancer at age nine, which authorizes government-funded medical care to anyone affected by contamination between 1957 and 1987.
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