The Associated Press
EUPORA – Family members say Marine Cpl. Justin Cooper of Eupora was killed this past weekend in combat in Afghanistan.
Alan Cooper, the Marine’s father, said Tuesday that military officials came to his home to inform him that his son had been killed in action on Sunday.
“He was our hero. All I ask is that people see him as the hero he was,” Allen Cooper told The Associated Press. “He loved his country and people loved him.”
The U.S. Department of Defense had not confirmed the 22-year-old soldier’s death Tuesday.
Justin Cooper enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Eupora High School in 2004 and attending Holmes Community College for one semester.
Justin Cooper served two tours in Iraq.
Alan Cooper told The AP that the family expected to hear from military officials today concerning the return of their son’s body. He said funeral arrangements would be made then.
Family and friends are planning a vigil at 7 p.m. Sunday at White Creek Lake in Eupora.
“I’ve never thought I’d hear so many people break down as they did here” following word of his son’s death, Alan Cooper said. “This is a hard time for all of those who knew and loved him. They are suffering just like we are.”