USa 2 Marines From Riverside County Killed In Afghanistan Attack RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — Two Marines from Riverside County were among the 13 U.S. service members killed in an explosion at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials confirmed Friday.
The city of Norco confirmed on its Facebook page that resident Kareem Mae’Lee Grant Nikoui, a lance corporal, was one of 11 Marines who died in the Thursday attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport. Nikoui’s father also confirmed the death in an interview with The Daily Beast, telling the outlet his son was stationed at Camp Pendleton. A Navy corpsman and an Army soldier also died in the attack.
The U.S. Marine, who graduated from Norco High School in 2019 and served in JROTC, was committed to serving his country and is survived by his mother, father and siblings,” according to the city. “Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui’s name will be enshrined on the ‘Lest We Forget Wall’ at the George A. Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza, which honors Norconians who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation.
“… The city of Norco respectfully salutes the service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Kabul, Afghanistan, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this difficult time,” according to the city.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), whose 42nd District includes Norco, said Friday that he had spoken with Nikoui’s family.
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“Words are incapable of expressing our grief and mourning for the loss of Lance Cpl. Nikoui and the other U.S. service members who were killed,” Calvert said. “As a proud Marine, Lance Cpl. Nikoui and his unit put themselves in harm’s way in order to provide safety to others. That’s the definition of courage. That’s the embodiment of the Marine Corps motto, ‘Semper Fidelis.’ I have spoken to the Nikoui family and expressed my condolences. The burden they bear is unimaginable.”
Meanwhile, the Riverside Sheriff’s Association confirmed that another Marine killed in the attack was Cpl. Hunter Lopez, the son of Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Alicia Lopez and sheriff’s Capt. Herman Lopez.
“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,” according to the RSA. “Hunter was a Riverside Sheriff’s Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station from September 2014 to August 2017.
“Hunter joined the United States Marine Corps and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Hunter, 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. Today the entire law enforcement community stands with the Lopez family, friends, fellow Marines, and all who loved him, praying for comfort, peace.”
According to the Desert Sun, Lopez was from the Coachella Valley. Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, who represents the Coachella Valley, issued a statement Friday.
“Our hearts ache for the Lopez and Nikoui families on the loss of their sons, Hunter Lopez and Kareem Nikoui, who perished while staying behind to help Americans, allies and fellow service members evacuate to safety,” Perez said. “They lost their lives in service to our country and to humankind. This is devastating to our nation and to Riverside County, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of these two heroes. During this difficult time, we pray for our nation and the safety of our military.”
Desert Sands Unified School District issued a statement saying Lopez was “a beloved student of our schools.” KESQ reported that Lopez attended La Quinta High School.
The city of La Quinta also issued a statement on its Facebook page, saying, “We are all so humbled by the service and ultimate sacrifice that Hunter gave to protect our country. He was a brave and selfless soldier who answered the call to be a United States Marine. Like his parents, Hunter wanted to help serve others and protect his community. Our City Council and staff ask the community to join us in prayer and support for the Lopez family, as they navigate through this difficult time.”
The Lopez family requested that donations in Hunter’s memory be made to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation in the name of the Lopez family, according to the RSA. Donations can be sent to 21810 Cactus Ave., Riverside, CA 92518.