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Parkland grad, current Marine is helping guard Washington Navy Yard after shooting

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 16 2013 09:01:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 17 2013 10:03:13 AM CDT

Family of local serviceman reacts

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. -

Members of one Schnecksville, Lehigh County family say they were on edge waiting to hear if a family member stationed in Washington was one of those injured in the shooting rampage at the Navy Yard.

Lance Cpl. Christopher Kuhns was not injured, but now the Marine is on full alert in the nation's capital.

Kuhns' parents, who are still concerned because of the ongoing investigation with the case, said it was their son's lifelong dream to be a Marine.

When he got assigned to the base in Washington, D.C., his parents never imagined their son would be in a place filled with gunfire.

Emergency service vehicles and a lot of people carrying weapons at the Washington Navy Yard looking for a gunman were the first things Laurie Kuhns witnessed Monday morning.

“Turned on the computer, went to the news and right there it was, high alert, Navy Yard shooting," said Laurie Kuhns, Christopher's mother. "My heart sank.”

Her thoughts immediately turned to her son, 19-year-old Christopher.

“The base that Chris is stationed at is right next to the navy barracks," added Laurie. "You can see the gates from Chris's window.”

He landed an assignment as a guard at the 8th and I base in Washington.

“I think our world is changing," said Ken Kuhns, Chris's father. "So, it's not like it may have been where if you're stateside you are safe. With the advent of more and more terrorism and things like that. There's always that danger there.”

Chris was off-duty at the time and was able to tell his parents he was okay, but for the rest of the day, communication was limited.

“He did text me once or twice and said he is on full alert," said Laurie. "He's got the full gear on and they are going to be carrying their weapons at the ready.”

The FBI said the suspected gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34, was killed, but they are trying to find out more information about him.

Thirteen people, including the gunman, are confirmed dead and a dozen others are injured.

“Told him I was praying for him, I love him and also to be vigilant, because you just don't know,” added Ken Kuhns.