A Riverside family is heartbroken but hopes their devastation will make a difference in the way the U.S. Army trains soldiers after 20-year-old Todd McGurn was killed in a friendly fire accident in Iraq during the Thanksgiving weekend.
McGurn dreamed of working with K-9 units as a Riverside police officer after he joined the department’s explorer program. Before pursuing his dream, however, he wanted to serve his country and enlisted in the U.S. Army.
The young Corporal, who joined the U.S. Army in 2016, was deployed to Iraq and was tragically killed a month later during a training mission.
“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this,” Todd’s mother Lori McGurn said. “He was my life. My kids are my life.”
A couple of service members offered their condolences to the victim’s family.
“Cpl. McGurn’s family is in our thoughts and prayers,” Brigadier General Mark Landes said.
“On behalf of the Iron Brigade, we offer our deepest condolences to the family of our fallen brother,” said Colonel Charles Lombardo.
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The victim’s family said they know the service member who accidentally killed Todd is feeling a tremendous amount of guilt, but they are not angry with him.
“We’re angry at the fact that there’s not enough training for these men who are risking their damn lives for us,” the victim’s sister Tawnie Martinez said.
According to Lori, Todd felt that there was a lack of comprehensive training.
“He never imagined the army being like this,” she said. “He did the Riverside Police Explorers for two and a half years and got more discipline and more respect.”
The incident is under investigation, according to a statement from Fort Bliss, where McGurn was stationed.
If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up to help the family, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 7.9 percent of all funds raised in the form of platform and payment processing charges.