By The Associated Press
QUANTICO, Va. — A Marine who shot two of his colleagues to death and then killed himself was a tactics instructor at a school that tests Marines who want to become officers, military officials said Saturday.
Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, 25, gunned down 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata and Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, on Thursday night inside barracks at the Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia. Other than to say the three Marines worked together at the school, military officials have not described their relationship or released a motive for the shooting.
Lopez, of Pacifica, Calif., was a teacher whose specialty was machine gunner. He joined the corps in May 2006 and deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Castromata, of Oakley, Calif., was a warehouse clerk who had been in the Marines since December 2011. Wooley, a Corinth, native, was a field radio operator. He joined the Marines in February 2010.
Wooley’s Facebook page was filled Friday with tributes to his life and dedication to the Marines.
Jessica Wildman, a Corinth resident who grew up with Wooley in the Alcorn County school system, said he was “an amazing young man.”
“I spent the majority of my time with him during our childhood,” she said. “He had so much energy and made everyone around him smile. Jacob had a way with people and a gift from God to touch lives.”
Lopez was an instructor at officer candidates school, known for its grueling 10-week program that evaluates Marines on physical stamina, intelligence and leadership. The candidates must complete obstacle courses, hikes of up to 12 miles in full combat gear and take classes on navigation and tactics that help them in the field, according to the school’s website.
Lopez’s great-grandfather, also Eusebio Lopez, said the Marines contacted their family on Friday night.
“They told us they were investigating more, and they’d let us know. He wasn’t the type to do stuff like that,” said Lopez, 81.
From the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. …
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Three Marines assigned to Officer Candidates School were killed in a shooting incident at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2013.
Notification of the next of kin for the deceased Marines has been completed.
Provided below are the names of the casualties:
Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, Calif., served as a warehouse clerk. She joined the Marine Corps in December 2011, and was promoted to her current rank in February 2013. Castromata’s awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. She had not deployed.
Corporal Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Miss., was a field radio operator. He joined the Marine Corps in February 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in July 2012. Wooley’s awards include the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. He had not deployed.
Sergeant Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, Calif., was a tactics instructor at the school, and his military occupational specialty was machine-gunner. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2006 and was promoted to his current rank in July 2011. Lopez’s awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation 3rd award, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal 2nd award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon 4th award. He had deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The NEMS Daily Journal contributed to this story.