In the days before a Marine sergeant shot two high-ranking officers, one of the officers had provided verbal "motivation" to the sergeant for being a "straggler" during a running exercise, a prosecutor told a magistrate Thursday.
On Tuesday, Sgt. Jessie Quintanilla walked into the office of Lt. Col. Daniel Kidd, who had provided the "motivation," and told him, "Remember me, [obscenity]?" and shot him with a .45-caliber pistol, prosecutor Capt. Charles E. Feldmann said.
Quintanilla also shot Lt. Col. Thomas Heffner, Feldmann said, and then, with blood on his hands, calmly walked downstairs into a helicopter hangar and told other Marines:
"I just shot the XO [executive officer] and CO [commanding officer]. I did it for the brotherhood and the brown side. This is only the beginning. We have a hit list. The brothers have been wronged and others are in the pen and more will die unless they are released."
The prosecutor did not say what Quintanilla, 28, a native of Guam, meant by the "brotherhood and the brown side." Civilian law enforcement officials said the terms are not gang terms but rather terms commonly heard by certain ethnic groups as expressions of solidarity and pride.
Military authorities are investigating whether Quintanilla was linked to gangs in Riverside, where he lived with his wife and son.
The prosecutor said that during a running exercise, Kidd, the squadron's executive officer, dropped back from the pack and urged Quintanilla to run faster. Quintanilla resented Kidd's actions, the prosecutor said.
Kidd died within minutes of the shooting. Heffner is in serious but stable condition at the base hospital.
Base spokesmen have said that Quintanilla had previously come to the attention of base authorities investigating gang activity involving Marines. Quintanilla, whose service record was spotless before the shooting, has a tear-drop tattoo at the corner of his eye, a tattoo often associated with prison gangs.
Magistrate Maj. Jim Brown ruled that Quintanilla, pending the filing of charges, should remain in the brig rather than be allowed bail.
Times correspondent Paul Levikow contributed to this story.