Hometown remembers Marine killed in fatal barracks shooting

January 03, 2019 05:49 AM

People in the town of Karlstad are remembering a hometown hero who served his country as a Marine.

The Marine Corps identified 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Riley Kuznia as the person who died Tuesday morning of a gunshot wound. Investigators say he was shot inside his barracks in Washington D.C., but have not released more details.


RELATED: Marine from Minnesota fatally shot at barracks in DC

Kuznia grew up in the small town of Karlstad, where less than 800 people reside. It sits in far northern Minnesota, about 30 miles south of the Canadian border.

Tri-County school superintendent Ryan Baron taught Kuznia high school math.

"He had a big impact on this town," Baron said.

Kuznia's mother said her son always wanted to be in the military, and that he joined the Marine Corps after high school.

Baron said his work ethic helped him excel.

"I think he knew he wanted to do something like this, and he knew what it took and he did it," Baron said.

Other teachers, like Brad Thompson, remember Kuznia's bright personality and a smile that lit up the room.

"He was kind," Thompson said. "He was so kind."

Thompson said many people in town are still in shock and trying to process the news. But he said they will bond together to make it through.

"I think in times of crisis like this, at times of loss, we all eventually seek to get together so we can share the good things that made Riley who he was," Thompson said.

Baron said he's been in contact with the Kuznia family, and that there are plans in the works to hold the funeral at the high school in town.

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Kirsten Swanson

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