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Mother Of Camp Lejeune Marine In Texas Shooting Spree Speaks Out

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - The mother of a Marine killed after a shooting spree that left one dead in Texas said Tuesday that she doesn't know what prompted the attacks, including the stabbing of his wife in North Carolina.

Lance Cpl. Esteban J. Smith, a 23-year-old Marine, died Sunday in a gunfight with Texas authorities after a shooting rampage that left one person dead and several hospitalized. Authorities believe Smith fatally stabbed his wife, Rubi Estefania Smith of Bakersfield, Calif., in a Jacksonville, N.C., motel room near Camp Lejeune before the shooting rampage.

Esteban Smith's mother, Rosalva Jimenez, told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday that she last spoke to her son on Thursday. She said her daughter-in-law had recently traveled from their California hometown to North Carolina to surprise him. She said her last phone conversation with her son was brief because he was at work and that she knew of nothing that would have led to the crimes.

"He was OK, but he went crazy all of a sudden," she said, speaking in Spanish.

She said her son had just married his wife in December and that he was preparing to leave the armed forces. "He wanted to come back, go to college, become a mechanical engineer," she said.

Smith was a veteran of two combat tours in Afghanistan, but Jimenez said she never asked him about what happened there. "I didn't want to hear," she said, adding that she hadn't wanted her son to go to war.

She also said she didn't know of any problems between her son and his wife. "Maybe they argued and he went crazy," she said.

Authorities have said the Texas victims were likely randomly targeted but have not said why Smith made the 1,500-mile trip to the town of Eden or where he may have been going.

"I imagine he was in Texas because maybe he was driving home" to Bakersfield, his mother said. "That's the road he would take."

Jimenez said she's sad for the people affected but that her son wasn't a monster.

"He was a very bright, quiet, calm man. He was the type of person that would not even like when you would raise your voice," she said.

A West Texas sheriff wounded by the gunman told The Associated Press the shootings appeared to be indiscriminate.

"This guy was intent on killing anybody and everybody," said Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, who was shot near his left ear. "None of it makes sense."

Doane said he is uncertain whether Smith killed himself or was killed by law enforcement.

Smith, who was also from Bakersfield, was stationed with the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune. Base spokesman Master Sgt. Jonathan Cress said investigators have determined the firearms used in the shootings were not issued by the military.

An assault rifle, handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were recovered from Smith's vehicle.

Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs said Smith enlisted in November 2008. He returned from his second tour as an infantry rifleman in Afghanistan in November 2012. He was awarded several decorations, including a Combat Action Ribbon and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Krebs said.

The Texas shootings began about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, when the gunman shot a passenger in a car carrying three people in their 20s in the Eden area of Concho County, about 210 miles southwest of Dallas, Doane said

Doane said Smith pulled up behind the trio's car and started firing.

"They thought he was throwing rocks at them and he was actually shooting at them," Doane said.

The driver slammed on his brakes, turned around and headed toward Eden, where he hid the vehicle in a car dealership lot. That move probably saved their lives, Doane said.

Over the next 90 minutes, two more people were shot while sitting in a car at a convenience store in adjacent McCulloch County. Both were treated and released from a hospital, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger said.

Shortly after 6 a.m., Alicia Torres, 41, was found dead in her car in Eola, just east of San Angelo, Vinger said.

Doane said when authorities discovered the shooter was headed toward Eden again, they had to act quickly.

"We made a decision: We can't let him back to town," he said.

The suspect fired on Doane's vehicle when the sheriff came upon him north of Eden. He died during a gunfight with a DPS trooper and a state game warden coming to Doane's aid, according to the DPS.

Rubi Smith's remains were found Sunday afternoon at a motel near the gates of the sprawling Marine base on the North Carolina coast. Police spokeswoman Beth Purcell said Rubi Estefania Smith appears to have died from a knife wound.

Injured in the Texas rampage were Laura Mandanas, 26, of New York; Casimiro Solis, 48, and Charlotte Feldman, 43, both of Brady, Texas; and Eric Kothmann, 52, of Menard, Texas. All were treated at hospitals and released, Vinger said.

Without stops, it is more than a 22-hour drive from Jacksonville, N.C. to Eden, Texas.



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EDEN, Texas (AP) -- A West Texas sheriff wounded by a man who killed a woman and injured four other people in a rampage Sunday says the shooter "was intent on shooting anybody and everybody" as he drove.

Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane said Tuesday that Lance Cpl. Esteban J. Smith pulled up behind one car carrying three people and started firing at them. Doane says the shooter hit one passenger in the cheek before the driver slammed on his brakes, turned around and headed toward Eden where he hid the vehicle in a car dealership lot.

Doane says Smith later wounded him near his left ear after the Marine pulled over following a short chase.

Doane says he's unsure whether Smith killed himself or was killed by authorities.


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The 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office released the combat history of a Camp Lejeune marine Tuesday suspected in two murders which includes 2 deployments to Afghanistan. Lance Corporal Esteban Smith was killed in a shootout in Texas Sunday after authorities say he killed a woman in a random shooting and police suspect he stabbed his wife to death in a Jacksonville hotel room.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Marine Corps officials say they are cooperating with local law enforcement agencies in Concho County, Texas, and Jacksonville in the investigation of
Smith suspected of stabbing his wife who was found dead in a motel room at the Sunset Inn on Western Boulevard in Jacksonville. Texas officials say he went on a shooting rampage in 2 counties and inured several people while shooting from his pickup truck and killed one woman.

Camp Lejeune officials say Smith was a Lance Corporal with the 3rd Batallion, 8th Marine Regiment. They say he is from Bakersfield, California and joined the Marine Corps in November 2008. They say his Military Occupational Specialty was Rifleman, and he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, from August 2010 to May 2011 and again from April to November 2012.

Smith's personal awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2nd award), a Navy Unit Commendation (2nd award), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2nd award),and the NATO Medal - International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan.


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Texas authorities have identified a Camp Lejeune Marine who was killed Sunday after a shootout with lawmen.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says 23-year-old Esteban Smith was shot by state troopers and a Texas game warden.

Camp Lejeune says the Marine is also connected to a woman's body that was found Sunday afternoon in a Jacksonville motel room.

Jacksonville Police identify the woman found in the motel room as 21-year-old Rubi Smith, Estaban's wife. Investigators say she had been stabbed to death.

Smith was a lance corporal with the 3rd Batallion, 8th Marine Regiment, according to Camp Lejeune officials.

In the Concho County, Texas shooting, authorities say the 23-year-old Marine was killed after they chased the man for almost two hours early Sunday morning. Authorities say the man opened fire from his pickup truck on random cars in two counties near San Angelo. One woman was killed and five people were wounded, including the Concho County sheriff.

Authorities found that the Marine was armed with an assault-style rifle, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Camp Lejeune says Smith was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division.


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Military officials say a woman's body found in a Jacksonville motel and a shooting spree in Texas that left two dead and five others wounded are connected.

Jacksonville police say the body was discovered Sunday afternoon at the Sunset Inn on Western Boulevard.

A Camp Lejeune spokesman says a 23-year-old Marine is connected to the shooting death of the woman in Jacksonville as well as the shooting in Texas.

In the Concho County, Texas shooting, authorities say a 23-year-old North Carolina resident was killed by lawmen after they chased the man for almost two hours early Sunday morning. Authorities say the man opened fire from his pickup truck on random cars in two counties near San Angelo. One woman was killed and five people were wounded, including the Concho County sheriff.

Authorities found that the gunman had been armed with an assault-style rifle, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Camp Lejeune says the Marine was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division. His name has not yet been released, as well as the name of the woman found dead in the Jacksonville motel room.

Jacksonville police have not said how long they believe the body had been in the motel room before being discovered Sunday.


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A death investigation is underway in one eastern Carolina city after a body is found in a hotel.

Details are limited at this time, but a Jacksonville Police say that the body was found early Sunday afternoon at the Sunset Inn on Western Boulevard.

“This is a joint investigation with Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The death investigation is in a preliminary stage and there is no additional information to release at this time,” said Chief Mike Yaniero, Director of Public Safety.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact JPD Detective Derek Simmons at (910) 455-4000 or dsimmons@ci.jacksonville.nc.us Crime Stoppers (910) 389- 3273 offers rewards of up to $2,500 for information leading to arrest. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities.


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