Three Dead in Quantico Shooting

Authorities identify 25-year-old Sergeant as shooter

By Megan McGrath
|  Sunday, Mar 24, 2013  |  Updated 7:14 PM EDT
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Sgt. Eusebio Lopez was a tactics instructor at Quantico's Officer Candidates School

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The identities of three U.S. Marines killed in an apparent double murder-suicide Thursday on Marine Base Quantico were released late Saturday night.

Authorities have identified 25-year-old Sergeant Eusebio Lopez of Pacifica, California as the shooter. Investigators believe that Sgt. Lopez killed 19-year-old Lance Corporal Sara Castromata of Oakley, California and 23-year-old Corporal Jacob Wooley of Guntown, Mississippi before fleeing into a barracks, where he took his own life.

All three Marines had been assigned to Officer Candidates School, where Lopez was a tactics instructor. He had joined the Marine Corps in 2006 and been deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Castromata, who joined the Marines in December 2011, served as a warehouse clerk. Wooley, who joined the Corps in February 2010, was a field radio operator. Neither had been deployed overseas.

A relationship dispute is believed to be the cause of the shooting, reported News4 Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey.

"We send our prayers and condolences to the families, fellow Marines and friends of the Marines who were lost in this tragic incident," said base commander Col. David W. Maxwell in a statement. "Our priority is to take care of and support all of those who are affected by this loss."

Police responding to reports of shots fired just before 11 p.m. initially encountered one victim and Lopez, who fled into a barracks. When authorities entered Taylor Hall, which houses staff at the school, -- they found the bodies of Lopez and the second victim.

The base was locked down during the investigation, but reopened early Friday morning. The shooting is still under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

In a statement, Pentagon press secretary George Little said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was saddened to learn of the shooting.

"This tragedy, as well as the tragedy in Nevada earlier this week, took the lives of Marines who volunteered to serve their nation," Little said. "His heart and his prayers are with them and their families."

The shooting is the second tragedy the Marine Corps has faced this week. Seven members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force were killed Monday when a mortar shell exploded in its firing tube during an exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada. Eight others were injured.

The Quantico base, which is about 37 miles south of Washington, is also home to the FBI's training academy. Its Officer Candidates School is the equivalent of basic training for Marines interested in becoming officers.

According to a Marine Corps website, the mission of Officer Candidates School is to train, screen and evaluate candidates. The training includes both academics and physical training such as endurance hikes and obstacle courses. Marines become second lieutenants on graduation from the 10-week program.

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