A California Marine was among the 13 U.S. service members killed during a bomb attack near the international airport in Kabul on Thursday, according to the Riverside Sheriff’s Association.
Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, was from a family with deep roots in the Coachella Valley. He is the son of two Riverside County Sheriff’s Department employees.
“We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Hunter, who chose to follow a life of service, selflessness, courage and sacrifice, like his parents,” the news release reads.
The sheriff’s association said Lopez was a Riverside Sheriff’s Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station from Sept. 2014 to Aug. 2017. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines and was planning on joining the sheriff’s department when he returned from deployment, according to the release.
Capt. Herman Lopez, Hunter’s father who commands the Coachella Valley’s Thermal sheriff station, has worked for the department since 1997. He serves as the police chief for the City of La Quinta, which contracts with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services.
Deputy Alicia Lopez, Hunter’s mother, has worked for the department since 2001 and is board secretary of the labor group. She was the recipient of the Rick Espinoza Distinguished Service Award in 2017 in part because of her willingness to provide a kidney for a young boy in need of a transplant due to a medical condition.
“Our entire community feels the anguish, and we mourn the death of Hunter, who answered the call to serve, defend and protect our nation,” according to the union’s news release. “Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine to Hunter wasn’t a job; it was a calling. He loved his family, and as we grieve for Hunter and his fellow Marines taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how deeply he will be missed – Semper Fi.”
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Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco expressed his condolences to the Lopez family on his Facebook account.
“I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,” Bianco wrote. “Our entire department is mourning this tragic loss. The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self.”
La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans expressed condolences for the city and council on Friday.
“Our La Quinta family is in mourning today with the tragic loss of Hunter Lopez, one of the fallen United States Service Members in the attack in Afghanistan,” Evans said in an emailed statement to The Desert Sun, part of the USA TODAY Network.
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“We are all so humbled by the service and ultimate sacrifice that Hunter gave to protect our country. He was a brave and selfless soldier who answered the call to be a United States Marine,” Evans said.
“Like his parents, Hunter wanted to help serve others and protect his community,” she said. “Our City Council and staff ask the community to join us in prayer and support for the Lopez family, as they navigate through this difficult time.”
Hunter Lopez was an alumnus of Desert Sands Unified School District.
“[Hunter Lopez] was a beloved student of our schools,” said district spokesperson Mary Perry. “His family has reached out directly to his former schools to confirm his passing. The entire school board, staff, and students of DSUSD share our thoughts and prayers with the family.”
The death toll from the blast includes 11 U.S. Marines, a Navy hospital corpsman, and one Army soldier, American officials said. At least 18 U.S. service members were injured. It was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011.
A Wyoming Marine expecting a child in three weeks was among the dead.
About 169 Afghan people died, officials told the Associated Press. CBS News was reporting that number at 170.
President Joe Biden commended the “bravery and sacrifice” of the U.S military Friday, calling the deaths of the U.S. service members “tragic” and saying they died for a “worthy mission.”
“Our mission there being performed is dangerous, and it has now come with a significant loss of American personnel,” Biden said in the Oval Office Friday afternoon before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “That was a worthy mission because they continue to evacuate people out of the airport.”
Biden noted that more than 12,000 people have been evacuated in the last 24 hours.
Source by rssfeeds.usatoday.com