A Marine accused of murdering a fellow Marine in the barracks at Camp Pendleton is recovering from “significant” injuries after jumping from a third floor balcony, according to Navy Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS).
Investigators were called to Camp Pendleton's Area 24 barracks on Sunday around 1 a.m. They found Lance Cpl. Mario Arias, 19, dead in his bed.
He was beaten to death, according to NCIS.
“Another Marine, whose name is not being released at this time, is the suspect in Arias' murder. He was found outside the barracks after having jumped from a third floor balcony. He is currently being treated for his injuries and the NCIS’ investigation is ongoing,” Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesperson Ed Buice said.
According to two sources who talked to the North County Times, Arias confronted the suspect about his alcohol abuse.
The suspect became “enraged,” beat Arias to death and then tried to kill himself by jumping from the balcony, according to the sources.
Arias graduated from Canoga Park High School near Los Angeles in 2010. A close friend said Arias knew he wanted to join right after high school.
“His sister was a Marine. He looked up to her, admired her and wanted to follow in her footsteps,” said Janelle Farkas.
Farkas says Arias wanted to be an engineer. He loved building robots and was part of the Northrop Grumman Explorer program.
“He wanted to use his engineering and those skills in the armed forces,” said his former teacher, Valerie Olenick.
Arias enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2010. He became an aircrew trainee from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Friends and teachers couldn't believe the news.
“A horrified reaction to the fact that such a nice kid had to have his life cut so short,” Olenick said.
“It's just a hard time. Something like this you don't expect and don't really know how to act. He's just going to be missed,” Clara Garcia said.
Friends say Arias was supposed to go home for Thanksgiving.