Marine officials identify San Diego-based sergeant found dead in Houston murder-suicide
By ALEX RIGGINS | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Published: October 5, 2018
SAN DIEGO (Tribune News Service) — Military officials Friday identified the San Diego-based Marine sergeant who died in an apparent murder-suicide in Houston early Wednesday, just two days after he’d received a promotion.
Massamba Diatta, 29, was an active duty infantryman who was assigned in August to recruiter school at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, a Marine spokesman said. He had been promoted from corporal to sergeant on Monday.
Houston police said they were awaiting autopsy results to help investigators determine whether the suspect in the shooting was Diatta or the 23-year-old woman found inside a room with him at a Red Roof Inn. The woman’s name has not been released.
Houston police said a toddler was found wandering around the hotel after the incident, which occurred around 12:15 a.m. Officers in Texas told the Houston Chronicle the child, 4, might have witnessed the incident and reported it to the front desk.
"Our deepest condolences and thoughts are with the families of all involved during this difficult time,” Capt. Martin Harris, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Western Recruiting Region, said in a statement.
According to Harris, Diatta joined the Corps as a recruit in April, 2013, from The Bronx in New York City. He has earned a number of awards and honors, including a Good Conduct Medal, which is given to any active duty enlisted Marine who completes three consecutive years of “honorable and faithful service.”
The Good Conduct Medal means Diatta went three years without any court martial offense, disciplinary infractions or non-judicial punishment.
Houston police said Thursday they were continuing to investigate the deaths while awaiting the autopsy results.
“We are cooperating with civilian and military authorities during the investigation to collect all the details of the incident," the Marine captain said.
Earlier in the week, Harris said the Marine Corps was “working closely with the Houston Police Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which have jurisdiction over the investigation.”
Anyone with information in the case was urged to contact the Houston Police Department’s homicide division at (713) 308-3600.