The Marine killed in what authorities are describing as an apparently accidental shooting at a North Carolina military base has been identified as a 21-year-old Texan on sentry duty.
Lance Cpl. Mark N. Boterf, of Crowley, died after a single gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday night at the main entrance to the sprawling Camp Lejeune base, the Marine Corps said in a statement late Wednesday.
The statement from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune added that Boterf -- a member of the 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group -- was on temporary assignment as a Marine sentry. Boterf joined the Marine Corps in 2012 and had no deployment history, it added.
Boterf's twin brother, who is also a Marine, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that his brother volunteered for the guard position so that another Marine could take leave to get married.
Boterf is one of ten children, three of which are in the Marines. Cpl. Joseph Boterf, the eldest child, joined the Marines in 2009 and is stationed in Quantico.
"Mark will always be remembered for his compassionate, gentle heart, love for country, sense of duty, and that contagious, quirky smile," brother Cpl. Joseph Boterf. "No matter what he was always trying to be goofy and funny. Me and Mike were the serious type, he was the counterbalance."
"A lot of pain right now," Boterf's father, Aubrey, said. "We’re trying to remember him for who he was, such a giving person. It’s sad that it ended the way it did, as quickly and unnecessary."
"He's going to leave a big legacy," said the Boterf's pastor, Troy Brewer of Open Door Church. "A lot of people loved him. He was a warrior. He was a free spirit and he has people who love him."
Boterf's Name to be Added to Crowley Veteran's Plaza
Boterf's name will be added to a new Veteran's Plaza which is nearly completed in Crowley.
The City of Crowley holds veterans in very high regard. It spent $260,000 on the plaza to honor all the town's men and women who are serving now and have served in the past.
Johnny Shotwell, a U.S. Air Force veteran, is one of three military veterans on the Crowley City Council.
"We haven’t put any names up on the back of the wall yet. That will be the final thing that we do. We’ll have our dedication coming up in the next couple months. But his name will be on the Marine wall," Shotwell said. "I will see to that myself."
Boterf's family is still making funeral arrangements.
Investigation Continues Into "Negligent Discharge"
Camp Lejeune spokesman Capt. Joshua Smith said Wednesday that a Marine colleague discharged a single shot from his M4 rifle in a guard shack at the main base entrance Tuesday and remains in custody. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating.
The name of the shooter, who is male, hasn't been released. No charges have been filed at this time. There were other guards at the gate, but no one else was hurt, officials said.
On Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday that the fatal shooting of a Marine on guard duty by a colleague at a North Carolina base appears to have been an accident.
Indications point to a "negligent discharge" as the cause of Tuesday's death in a guard shack at the main gate to Camp Lejeune, Department of Defense spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren told reporters.
"It appears right now to have been an accident," Warren said.
But it will take several weeks of examination to confirm that the shooting was accidental, base spokesman Nat Fahy has said in a statement.
The shooting came less than a week after a shooting rampage by a soldier at Fort Hood in Texas killed three and wounded 16 others. But Fahy has stressed the difference in the two situations.
NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff and Julie Fine contributed to this report.