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Another shooting at Marine museum, but marathon will go on

This 2006 file photo shows the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP

By JEFF SCHOGOL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — More shots were fired overnight at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., marking the second time the museum has been targeted and the fourth time a military building has been shot in the last two weeks, police said.

John Perren, the acting assistant director for the FBI’s Washington field office, said Friday that investigators believe the shooter is possibly a Marine but certainly someone with grievance against the Corps.

“We’d like to know what this grievance is and what we can do to try to help solve it,” Perren said.

He said the nighttime targeting of unoccupied buildings indicates the shooter does not intend to harm civilians or Marines, and a Marine spokeswoman said there are no plans to cancel Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon, in which thousands of runners — many with a military affiliation — will race through the streets in and around Washington, beginning and ending at military landmarks..

The museum was first shot at on Oct. 17, and investigators later said the incident is linked to subsequent shootings at the Pentagon and a Marine Corps recruiting station in the Washington suburb of Chantilly, Va.

Museum staff discovered new bullet holes in the building’s glass and steel structure on Friday morning, museum spokeswoman Gwenn Adams said.

“The museum is currently closed for the investigation,” she said. “No one was injured, no artifacts were damaged.”

Adams would not say how many shots were fired, nor would she talk about the museum’s security efforts. She said the museum was expected to re-open Saturday at the latest.

“The museum structure is still safe,” she said. “If it weren’t safe, we would not be open.”

On Sunday, more than 30,000 people are expected to take part in the Marine Corps Marathon and an additional 10,000 people will participate in the 10K run, said Tami Faram, a spokeswoman for the marathon.

The 26.2-mile marathon begins with runners lining up in the Pentagon parking lot before passing the start line at Arlington National Cemetery. The course then winds through northern Virginia and Washington before finishing at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.

Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said that additional security would be put in place at the Pentagon, in light of the shootings. But he said no other security changes for the Pentagon grounds had been planned, and Pentagon police had not issued any recommendations about canceling the race.

Race Director Rick Nealis said he has received no indication that the Marine Corps Marathon has been targeted. He pointed out that the event will be protected by several law enforcement agencies including Virginia State Police, U.S. Capitol Police and the Coast Guard.

 “In the past, in cooperation with the local law enforcement agencies … safe races have been conducted, and this is going to be no different,” said Col. Daniel Choike, commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico. “We’re going to run this race taking into the account the incidents that have taken place with the shooting. We’re cooperating fully with the FBI to get additional information, and additional measures are being put in place to what is already a very robust security plan.”

jeffrey.schogol@stripes.osd.mil

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