Two high-ranking US military officers were shot and killed inside the Afghan interior ministry building on Saturday, Pentagon officials said.
They identified the officers as Army Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II, of Baltimore, and Air Force Lt. Col. John D. Loftis, of Paducah, Ky. They were killed when a gunman entered their office inside the heavily secured ministry building, shooting them to death, officials said.
Maj. Marchanti's family remembers him as a devoted family man. He is survived by his wife of 24 years and four adult children. His daughter, Leah, told WBAL-TV that Marchanti was killed Friday night. She said he had been in Afghanistan for less than a year and was scheduled to return in September.
His relatives said he taught special education and physical education for the Baltimore Public School System. His daughter said he worked at Carney Elementary School and Dundalk Elementary School.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying it was in retaliation to U.S. military troops burning the Quran and other Islamic texts at a U.S. airbase near Kabul. The incident became known last week, sparking days of deadly violence.
Almost immediately after the Interior Ministry shootings, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan withdrew all coalition advisers from Afghan ministries.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led international military coalition in Afghanistan said Monday that the gunman was still at large and that authorities are undertaking an "active search" to find him.