Marine shooting death tied to football spat

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina-based Marine was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow Marine on Sunday as the pair argued over a football game, according to local media reports.

Cpl. Johnathon Clinton Rodriguez, 21, an aircraft electrical systems technician at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, was shot in the chest around 1 a.m. at an off-base home in Havelock, according to an air station news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lionel Loya, 23, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to The Daily News of Jacksonville. His rank was not immediately available. Friends told authorities that he and Rodriguez were assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2.

Havelock Police Department Chief G. Wayne Cyrus told The Daily News that Rodriguez and Loya were watching the Texas-Nebraska football game at Loya’s home when they began to argue.

“It was just friendly banter going back and forth,” Cyrus told the newspaper. “One was a Texas fan and one was not.”

The bickering led to a scuffle — and then a gunshot, Cyrus said. A .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol was recovered from the scene.

Loya was arrested by civilian police and later released to military authorities. Cherry Point officials would not release any details about him, citing the ongoing investigation.

Rodriguez joined the Corps in May 2007. He served one tour in Iraq.

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