MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota Marine is dead after being shot in his barracks on New Year’s Day.
Lance Corporal Riley Kuznia of Karlstad was on duty in Washington D.C. when he was killed.
The Marine Corps is not disclosing much about his death, saying the shooting was not self-inflicted, and there is no threat to the public.
A loving son, cherished brother and dedicated Marine, Kuznia grew up in a town of less than 800 — but he had big dreams.
“He wanted to be a soldier,” said Markelle Kuznia, his mother.
Kuznia played hockey growing up and graduated from Tri-County High School in 2017. When he turned 18, he joined the Marines.
“It was the hardest thing I ever did, but you can’t raise a kid to follow a dreams and then tell them they can’t do it,” Kuznia said.
His service to our state and our country came to an end on Tuesday. The 20-year-old was pronounced dead on New Year’s Day after being shot at the Marine Barracks, located about a mile away from the U.S. Capitol. It is unclear what led up to the shooting.
“There was no threat, and there currently is no threat to local residents within the area,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Colleen McFadden. “Right now, the command’s priorities are to take care of those involved, specifically the Marine’s family and friends.”
Commanding Officer Colonel Don Tomich says the Marine “was highly driven and goal-oriented … and had a positive attitude that set the example here at the Barracks.”
Kuznia’s mother says her son had a detailed timetable for his life that included getting married and starting a family.
“He had his whole life planned out, it wasn’t like he didn’t have a plan, so he went to the Marines. He had a plan, he always had a plan,” she said.
Now, instead of seeing those plans become reality, she is forced to say goodbye.
“It doesn’t feel real,” she said.
During his time in the Marines, Kuznia was awarded with service medals for the Global War on Terrorism and National Defense.
The family hopes to learn more about the shooting investigation soon and then will start making funeral arrangements.