A Marine from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, was killed during Service Level Training Exercise (SLTE) 1-22 in California when he was struck in the chest by a bullet on Oct. 3, according to a statement from 2d Marine Division.
The incident took place aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.
Lance Cpl. Jonothan Barnette, 24, wasn’t wearing chest protective equipment when he was hit, his family told local news stations. He was a rifleman with Kilo Company.
In an interview with WRCBtv, an NBC affiliate based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Barnette’s mother said the family is still seeking answers on the exact circumstances of her son’s death.
“There’s an hour and 13 minutes that are unexplained to us,” the Marine’s mother, Robin Hayes, told WRCBtv.
The cause of the incident is currently under investigation. The latest data from the Naval Safety Center’s mishap summaries includes a corresponding Oct. 3 Marine death.
Barnette was originally from Chatsworth, Georgia, according to his obituary. He enlisted in 2018, and graduated from the School of Infantry — East in May of 2020.
His wife, Savannah Barnette, is pregnant with their second child.
“He will not be here to watch our daughter grow up or to be here to experience is our baby being born,” she told Chatanooga-based ABC affiliate, WTVC. “It kills me every day. Every day, it kills me.”
Barnette’s body remains in the custody of the Marine Corps as it conducts final investigations, according to these local reports, so the family has been unable to finalize funeral or memorial arrangements.
A GoFundMe campaign was set up by one of Barnette’s acquaintances to help the Marine’s young family, according to the campaign’s page.
“All of us in the Betio family are devastated by the untimely death of Lance Corporal Jonothan Barnette,” said Lt. Col. Charles Nash, commanding officer, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines. “Lance Cpl. Barnette was an invaluable member of our team, and our deepest condolences go out to Jonothan’s family, friends, and loved ones. We extend our full support during this very difficult time.”
His awards included the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Navy Arctic Service Ribbon and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Leila has covered global military and security operations from across the U.S., the Middle East, and Latin America.