BEAUFORT, S.C. — A military investigation is underway into the shooting death Friday of a 21-year-old Marine corporal from Standish in his barracks at a South Carolina air station, military officials said.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the death of Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, 21, on April 12. Military investigators have detained a suspect, Cpl. Spencer T. Daily. Both are aircraft ordinance technicians with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Wallingford was a third-generation firefighter who started work with the Standish Fire Department in 2013 while he was still enrolled at Bonny Eagle High School, the town said in a brief statement. The school district said Wallingford graduated from Bonny Eagle in 2015.
Standish Fire Chief Robert Caron said his department and many others throughout town who knew Wallingford are mourning his loss.
Caron has been with the Standish Fire Department for 28 years and was mentored by Wallingford’s father, who still works for the department. Caron met young Tyler right after he was born, but got to know him better when he joined the department as a junior firefighter.
“It was eventful. He kept us entertained,” Caron said. “He had an infectious smile and he could make you laugh. And even when I had to discipline him, you’d shut the door (afterward) and shake your head and start laughing. He knew how to get under your skin and not have you be mad at him.”
Wallingford finished his fire training with a local department in South Carolina, but he would always come back to the fire station when he was on leave, and the crew always left out his gear in case they needed him to respond to a call.
“He was just a real go-getter,” Caron said. “He gave it his all on everything he did.”
In line with that adventurous spirit, Wallingford began skydiving, and recorded more than 100 jumps in what seemed like no time, Caron said.
Caron said he’s been by the family’s side since they learned of their son’s death Saturday.
“They’re doing better than I expected them to be, but obviously completely heart-broken.” Plans are underway for a public service, but nothing had been finalized Monday.
So far the Marines have said little to the family about what happened inside Wallingford’s barracks, Caron said.
“As with the family, everyone’s anxious for answers, but they want to put him to rest first,” Caron said.