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Second recruit dies at Parris Island, third major incident this year

The Marine Corps' East Coast training depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, has been rocked by the death of another recruit, the third major incident there this year.

The recruit, assigned to the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, was pronounced dead on Friday evening at Beaufort Memorial Hospital after being found unconscious in his bed after 8 p.m., said Capt. Gregory Carroll, a spokesman for Parris Island.

"The Marine Corps has notified the family and are ensuring they are supported during this difficult time," Carroll said on Saturday.

Separately, another recruit who suffered severe injuries after falling two stories at Parris Island on Oct. 28 remains in critical condition, Carroll said.

The Marine Corps has not released the name of either recruit. Both incidents are under investigation.

Parris Island has come under scrutiny from lawmakers after a Muslim recruit died there in March after vaulting over a barracks stairwell and falling nearly 40 feet. Raheel Siddiqui, 20, was assigned to the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, where drill instructors routinely slapped and choked recruits, an investigation into his death found.

Up to 20 Marines at Parris Island are under investigations for allegations of abuse against recruits and other incidents. So far, none has been charged, referred to court-martial or administratively disciplined.

Then on Oct. 28, a recruit at Parris Island fell from the second story of the recruit processing center only four days after arriving at the training depot.

Witnesses told investigators it appeared that the recruit intentionally jumped, but friends of his family have disputed that he jumped on purpose.

"This is far from the truth," one family friend tweeted on Saturday "He was a warrior and would never! Where are those witnesses???"

Although the Marine Corps has not named the recruit, a gofundme account establishedso his family can stay with him in South Carolina identifies him as Kristian Gashaj, 18, of Sterling Heights, Michigan.

"Kristian is on life support with a 5% chance of living," a message on the fundraising site says. "His family is devastated. He lives with his mother and 3 sisters. His father was deported 15 years ago and he wanted to better his life and provide for his family. His mother and sisters are all by his bedside in South Carolina and we want to make sure they can stay there and help their son and brother fight.

"We want to raise money for Kristian and the family so he can continue to fight this battle. We want to raise money for all and any medical bills and for the family be able to fight beside him in South Carolina. Kristian is loved by many. He is a smart, kind, strong, eccentric young man who loved life, his family, and friends to the fullest."

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