Three marines are dead in the Quantico Marine base in Virginia after a murder/suicide shooting in the base’s Officer Candidate School barracks on Thursday night.
Details are still sparse as to what caused the shooting and who was involved, as investigators try to figure out what made one man shoot two colleagues and himself on Thursday night.
The questions began when law enforcement were called to the OCS barracks at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, when the body of one of the victims was discovered, according to a statement Col. David W. Maxwell, the base’s commander, delivered to reporters following the attack.
The initial investigation uncovered the other victim’s body, as well as the body of the Marine currently suspected as the gunman, killed by his own gun.
Reactions were understandably chaotic, with details becoming clearer as authorities gained a better idea of what actually happened.
“A base spokesman initially described the situation as a standoff,” CBS News reported. “Maxwell said later in the morning that there was no standoff. Base spokesman Lt. Agustin Solivan later clarified that after the first shooting, police had the shooter ‘isolated’ in a barracks dorm room at the base's Officer Candidates School.”
The building was put on lockdown following the shooting and was not opened until Friday morning.
Already the Pentagon has narrowed possible explanations for the attack, eliminating any sort of terrorist attack or mass shooting spree.
“This was an isolated incident,” Capt. Eric D. Flanagan, a Marine spokesman, said. “At no point was this suspected to be a mass shooting.”
The victims and gunman all appeared to know each other, serving in the same unit. Investigators are trying to figure out if some of them may have been romantically involved.
“That’s not outside the realm of possibility,” a Marine official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity.
The OCS is an academic and physical training center, where enlisted service members learn to become commissioned officers.
The attack comes just days after another tragedy for the Corps, when seven Marines were killed when a mortar exploded prematurely during a training exercise in Nevada.