Marine charged with murder in death of fellow Marine outside barracks

PHOTO: U.S. Marines participate in a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, at the Marine barracks on October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.PlayMark Wilson/Getty Images
WATCH News headlines today: Nov. 15, 2019

A Marine who allegedly shot and killed another Marine outside the Marine Barracks in Washington has been charged with murder, manslaughter and other violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Marine Corps announced on Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Riley S. Kuznia, 20, from Karlstad, Minnesota, was shot and killed at approximately 5 a.m. on the morning of Jan. 1, 2019.

The alleged shooter, Lance Cpl. Andrew M. Johnson, is scheduled to appear at an Article 32 Preliminary Hearing at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on August 22.

PHOTO: Riley Kuznia at his Marine graduation ceremony in San Diego. Morgan Kuznia via AP
Riley Kuznia at his Marine graduation ceremony in San Diego.

D.C. police originally classified the case as a death investigation rather than a homicide investigation, meaning that the shooting may have been an accident. But a redacted copy of the charge sheets, obtained by Task & Purpose, said that Johnson jokingly pointed his pistol at Kuznia's head and pulled the trigger, showing "wanton disregard for human life."

The Marine Corps said in a statement on Thursday that "preliminary findings from the investigation indicated Guard Company policies and proper firearm handling procedures were not followed."

"Preferral of charges are accusations, and the Marine is presumed innocent until proven guilty," the Marine Corps said.

PHOTO: Riley Kuznia at his familys home in Karlstad, Minn. Morgan Kuznia via AP
Riley Kuznia at his family's home in Karlstad, Minn.

"A complete and thorough investigation was conducted following this tragic incident," said Col. Donald Tomich, the Marine Barracks Washington commanding officer. "We initiated immediate actions within Guard Company to ensure proper policies and procedures are maintained and strictly followed."

"The Barracks remains committed to supporting Lance Cpl. Kuznia's family as the legal process will undoubtedly reopen some wounds," he added. "Time does not ease the pain of their loss or make dealing with this any easier for them, and our thoughts and prayers remain with them. They are a part of the Marine Barracks Washington Family."