U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, the son of Riverside Deputy Sheriff Alicia Lopez and Riverside Sheriff's Captain Herman Lopez, was killed in action while stationed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul during the U.S. led evacuation effort.
"We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Hunter, who chose to follow a life of service, selflessness, courage and sacrifice, like his parents," the Riverside Sheriff's Association wrote in a statement Friday.
Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez. (Credit: Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco)
Lopez was a Riverside Sheriff's Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station from September 2014 to August 2017.
He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Lopez, who was 22 years old at the time of his death, planned on becoming a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy after returning from his current deployment.
"I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero," Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco wrote on Facebook. "Our entire department is mourning this tragic loss. The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self."
Lopez is the second Southern California Marine identified as one of the victims of Thursday's terrorist attack in Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem Mae'Lee Grant Nikoui, of Norco, was identified as one of the victims earlier Thursday.
Thursday's bombing — blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group, a lethal enemy of both the Taliban and the West — made for one of the deadliest days in the two-decade Afghan war.
Two officials said the number of Afghans killed rose to 169, one of the country's highest death tolls in a terror attack. The U.S. said it was the most lethal day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011. The number of dead was subject to change as authorities examined the dismembered remains.
"Hunter was the victim of vicious evil and was killed because he wore a United States Marnie uniform with love and pride. Our entire community feels the anguish, and we mourn the death of Hunter, who answered the call to serve, defend and protect our nation," the Riverside Sheriff's Association wrote. "Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine to Hunter wasn't a job; it was a calling. He loved his family, and as we grieve for Hunter and his fellow Marines taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how deeply he will be missed."
The Lopez family requested that all donations be made to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation in the name of the Lopez Family. A fund has also been set up by the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association to help the Lopez family.
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