A Marine Corps drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., killed himself Monday while 59 recruits six days into basic training looked on in horror, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Marine officials said Sgt. Richard Stumpf, Jr., 24, put an M-16 rifle to his head and pulled the trigger early Monday morning by the side of an indoor pool where the recruits were preparing for swimming lessons.The newspaper said Stumpf's actions followed an apparent suicide by Marine Sgt. Daniel Bryan the same day. Bryan, 23, died Monday evening after shooting himself during a quarrel with his wife in their Norfolk, Va., home.
The two deaths have accelerated attention to military suicide, especially after two Marines and one Navy officer killed themselves in Haiti last month.
The paper quoted Marine Corps statistics, which showed 19 Marines had killed themselves so far this year, and four other deaths being investigated as apparent suicides. That compares to 37 suicides during 1993 and an average annual suicide total of 25.
Pentagon data show a total of 239 self-inflicted deaths in all branches of the military last year.