Updated: 8:52 p.m. | Posted: 12:05 p.m.
A 20-year-old U.S. Marine from Minnesota was killed in a shooting at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., his mother said Wednesday.
Markelle Kuznia told The Associated Press that the military notified her late Tuesday that her son, Riley Kuznia, died early that morning. Kuznia said the military has not provided her with details of her son's death.
The U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement that the shooting was under investigation and that there was no danger to local residents "as the event transpired within the grounds of Marine Barracks 8th and I." Marine Corps spokesman Chief Gunnery Sgt. John Jackson said the wound "was not self-inflicted."
Kuznia said her son felt it was his duty to serve.
"He didn't enter the Marines because he didn't know what he wanted to do," she told MPR News on Wednesday. "He entered the Marines with the intention of 'this is what I want to do.' He joined the Marines because it was the hardest of all the branches. He said 'if I can make it through the Marines, I can make it through anything.'"
Kuznia joined the Marines after graduating from Tri-County High School in 2017, she said.
His mother added that Kuznia loved the outdoor lifestyle of northern Minnesota and was an avid hockey player, hunter and angler. He was a young man with his eye on the future.
"He loved his country and he always felt that he should serve his country. And when he got out he had goals," she said. "He wanted to start his own construction company and he wanted to get married to his high school sweetheart. He wanted to have kids."
Markelle Kuznia last spoke with her son when he was home for Christmas. They took a family trip to Duluth and the North Shore. Last Saturday, he headed back to his post at the historic Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.
He sent his mother a message the night before he was killed.
"He texted me on New Year's Eve and asked if I'd gotten a gift for his grandpa because he was worried that his grandpa didn't get a Christmas gift, and that was the last thing I ever heard from him," she said.
The Washington Post, citing two sources with knowledge of the investigation, reports that Kuznia appears to have been hit by a round that a fellow Marine fired accidentally.
The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department said officers responded to the Marine Barracks just after 5 a.m. on New Year's Day. The publicly available police report includes few details, but does say that a second person at the scene "had been handling a firearm."
Despite lifesaving measures, Riley Kuznia was pronounced dead at a hospital less than an hour later.
In a brief statement released Tuesday, the Marine Corps said "the command is making every effort to take care of those involved," particularly the Marine's family and friends.
Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz tweeted his sympathies to the Marine's family Wednesday.
"We are forever grateful for your service to our state and our country," Walz said. "May your family find peace and strength in outpouring of love and support from the community."
My deepest sympathies to the family of Riley Kuznia, a native Minnesotan and U.S. Marine. We are forever grateful for your service to our state and our country. May your family find peace and strength in outpouring of love and support from the community.https://t.co/1gZIW0YnuY— Governor-elect Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) January 2, 2019
Correction (Jan. 3, 2019): A previous audio version of this story misstated where Marine basic training takes place. The attached audio has been adjusted.