A U.S. Marine was shot and killed Tuesday morning inside the Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill in Southeast Washington, prompting a D.C. police investigation.
Two officials with knowledge of the investigation said the Marine appeared to have been struck by an accidental discharge from another Marine’s weapon.
Authorities cautioned that the investigation was in its beginning stages.
No arrests had been made, and police classified the case as a “death investigation,” an indication that, at least at the moment, investigators did not believe a crime had been committed. The shooting occurred about 5 a.m. A Marine Corps spokeswoman, Capt. Colleen McFadden, said she could confirm only that the victim did not suffer “a self-inflicted injury.”
The name of the victim, described as in his early 20s, was not made public on Tuesday.
D.C. police, who lead all death investigations in the District, said officers were contacting the victim’s relatives. The military typically releases names of deceased members 24 hours after the next of kin are notified.
A D.C. police report said the Marine was shot about 5:05 a.m. and was pronounced dead at 5:59 a.m. at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
As a result, the post canceled Tuesday’s traditional New Year’s Day serenade, a formal affair in which an audience is invited as the Marine Corps Band plays for the commandant at his home.
In a statement from Marine Barracks Washington, Col. Don Tomich, the commanding officer, said officials were taking care of the victim’s family and friends “during this challenging time.”
The statement confirmed the Marine’s death but did not provide details such as the victim’s age, assignment or in which building the shooting occurred on the installation that is also known by its address, “Eighth and I.”
“No threat to local residents exists,” the statement says.
The Marine Barracks Washington, founded in 1801 by President Thomas Jefferson, is the oldest active Marine Corps post. Its personnel perform both ceremonial and security missions in the District, and the post is home to the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Marine Band, as well as the site of the Home of the Commandants. The post is south of Eastern Market and next to a newly sprouted nightlife and restaurant district called Barracks Row.
Tuesday’s shooting marked at least the third time in six years that a Marine was shot at the compound.
In June, a Marine standing guard at the home of the commandant suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was hospitalized. The Marine survived what officials at the time called a negligent discharge of a weapon.
In 2013, a 19-year-old Marine from South Dakota suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Authorities said they believed Lance Cpl. Cody S. Schoenfelder accidentally shot himself in the building where the commandant lives.
Authorities did not describe the circumstances that led up to Tuesday’s fatal shooting or what caused them to believe it might have been accidental.
Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.