News Channel 3 has confirmed that a local Marine was among 13 U.S. service members killed during an attack at a Kabul airport on Thursday.
The Desert Sands Unified School District confirmed that one of the Marines killed has been identified as Hunter Lopez, 22, a Coachella Valley native and 2017 La Quinta High School graduate.
DSUSD put out this statement on Lopez's passing:
"Desert Sands Unified School District is saddened by the news of the death of alumni Hunter Lopez in Afghanistan. He was a beloved student of our schools. 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."
Lopez was one of 11 Marines who died when two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport.
Lopez was the son of Riverside County Sheriff's Captain Herman Lopez and Deputy Alicia Lopez. Sheriff Chad Bianco reacted on Facebook:
The Riverside Sheriff's Association issued the following statement:
"Riverside, August 27, 2021- The Riverside Sheriff's Association (RSA) issued the following statement regarding the death of United States Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, the son of Riverside Deputy Sheriff and RSA Board Secretary Alicia Lopez and Riverside Sheriff's Captain Herman Lopez.With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of a beloved member of the Riverside Sheriff's family, United States Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, one of one 13 United States service members killed at the Kabul airport during the U.S.led evacuation effort. 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. Hunter was a Riverside Sheriff's Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station from September 2014 to August 2017.Hunter joined the United States Marine Corps and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Hunter, who was 22 years old at the time of his death, planned on becoming a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy after returning from his current deployment. Today the entire law enforcement community stands with the Lopez family, friends, fellow Marines, and all who loved him, praying for comfort, peace.Hunter was the victim of vicious evil and was killed because he wore a United States Marnie uniform with love and pride. Our entire community feels the anguish, and we mourn the death of Hunter, who answered the call to serve, defend and protect our nation. 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.The Lopez family requests that all donations be made to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation in the name of the Lopez Family. The address is 21810 Cactus Avenue, Riverside, CA 92518. The Lopez family respectfully requests privacy during this incredibly difficult time. The family will share details and plans for the celebration of Hunter's life at a later date."
Congressman Raul Ruiz issued a statement on the passing of Hunter Lopez:
"I am heartbroken for the family of United States Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez and extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences. Corporal Lopez made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation, and we are forever indebted to him for his incredible service.
The Lopez family, our nation's Gold Star Families, and all of our courageous service members are in my prayers. Tonight, we honor Corporal Lopez's legacy, pray for our fallen heroes, and vow to seek justice."
The City of La Quinta also put out this statement:
"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. Hunter is the son of Captain Herman and Alicia Lopez, both members of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department. Captain Herman Lopez is our Police Chief and Captain over at the Thermal Station. 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. Like his parents, Hunter wanted to help serve others and protect his community.
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."
U.S. officials initially said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who died. Another service member died hours later.
Lopez was not the only Marine from Riverside County killed in the attack.
Lance Corporal Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California sent videos to his family hours before he died, showing himself interacting with children in Afghanistan.
The city of Norco said Friday in a post on social media that Nikoui’s name will be enshrined on a memorial wall in the city.
7 additional U.S. Servicemembers killed in the attack have been identified
- Rylee McCollum, 20
- Jared Schmitz, 20
- Taylor Hoover, 31
- Deagan William-Tyeler Page, 23
- Ryan Knauss, 23
- David Lee Espinoza, 20
- Max Soviak, 22
An additional 18 service members were wounded and officials warned the toll could grow. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates