DC Barracks Marine hit with murder charge in New Year’s shooting death of lance corporal

A lance corporal in the Marine Corps has been charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and dereliction of duty in the shooting death of a fellow Marine at the Marine Barracks in D.C. on New Year’s Day.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Johnson was on security duty Jan. 1, 2019, when he pointed a pistol at Lance Cpl. Riley Kuznia, 20, of Karlstad, Minnesota, and “pulled the trigger in jest,” shooting Kuznia in the head, charging documents allege.

Kuznia died an hour later at the hospital.

Johnson’s age and where he’s from were not released, nor was the type of pistol involved.

He was also hit with four dereliction of duty charges, including one for the Jan. 1 shooting, in the weeks and months leading up to Kuznia’s death. Three relate to Johnson’s improper handling of his service weapon.

The first dereliction charge accuses Johnson of using his cellphone while on duty Nov. 1, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019.

The second accuses Johnson of removing his pistol from its holster “while dancing” Nov. 25, 2018.

The third describes a Dec. 31, 2018 incident where Johnson allegedly pulled his pistol, chambered a round and said, “Oh you’re going to a party. F— this s—,” or words to that effect.

The fourth accuses Johnson of improperly clearing his pistol “in an undesignated area without a supervisor.”

He faces an Article 32 hearing (similar to a civilian preliminary hearing but more extensive) Aug. 22 at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

Kuznia’s body was returned to Minnesota Jan. 11 and his funeral was held Jan. 12 at the Tri-County High School gymnasium in Karlstad.

He joined the Marines after graduating from high school in northwestern Minnesota in 2017.

Markelle Kuznia told The Associated Press that her son joined the Marines because “he felt it was his duty.”

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