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Marine shot dead while on duty had just spent Christmas with family in Minnesota

A fundraiser for the 20-year-old's family has raised more than $10,000.

As an investigation into the shooting death of a Minnesotan Marine stationed in Washington, D.C. continues, the family of Lance Cpl. Riley S. Kuznia is preparing for his funeral. 

Kuznia, 20, of Karlstad, Minnesota, was shot around 5 a.m. on New Year's Day while on duty as a team leader for Guard Company at Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill. According to a release from the United States Marine Corp, Kuznia was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 5:59 a.m. Tuesday. 

An online fundraiser for Kuznia's family has generated $10,000 to help cover travel, lodging and funeral expenses associated with bringing him home. The GoFundMe says the USMC doesn't cover travel expenses for family of Marines killed in training or an accident unless there is a memorial on base. 

The bullet that struck Kuznia was fired by another guard, the USMC release says. 

“The Marine who fired his weapon was relieved of his guard duties at the barracks and reassigned to administrative duties pending the completion and outcome of the investigation,” the statement says.

According to the Washington Post, the investigation is attempting to determine if the gun discharged during a transfer from one guard to another, or if another Marine accidentally shot while removing a weapon from a holster. 

"We are truly saddened by this terrible loss. Riley was a highly driven and goal-oriented Marine whose positive attitude set the example here at the Barracks," said Col. Don Tomich, commanding officer of Marine Barracks. 

The fundraiser notes that Kuznia spent Christmas in Minnesota with his family and he was looking forward to a new assignment in February. 

Kuznia graduated from Tri-County High School in 2017, where was a member of the Kittson County Central Bearcats varsity hockey team. 

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