A 20-year-old Marine based at Camp Pendleton was killed Saturday after being shot while in a car in downtown Oceanside, police said.

Details of the shooting remained sketchy on Sunday. But the Oceanside Police Department, which is investigating the case, was said to be looking into the possibility that the victim was shot while playing with a gun while he was with a fellow Marine.

Ronald Milton Carnell, a lance corporal from St. Louis, died at the Navy Hospital on the Marine base at 5:36 p.m. Saturday from gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, a spokesman for the San Diego County coroner’s office said.


Carnell was shot about 4:30 p.m., said Officer Bob George, a spokesman for the Oceanside police. Carnell may have shot himself, George said.

The officer said that investigators were examining the possibility that Carnell may have been shot as he and a fellow Marine were toying with a gun inside the car. A third Marine had left the car to run an errand, the police spokesman said.

After Carnell was shot, the police spokesman said, the other Marines drove Carnell to the Naval Hospital.

The spokesman said that police had received several different versions of the incident. The investigation was continuing, he added, and arrests are possible.