Twenty-one-year old Cpl. Spencer Daily had been drinking all day April 12, 2019, when he met a fellow Marine in a parking lot of the Beaufort, South Carolina, Marine base around 7 p.m.
The drinking was par for the course on Daily’s days off, according to the fellow Marine, later a witness in an investigation into a tragic shooting of Daily’s roommate that would happen later that night.
Daily told his buddy how drunk he was and they went to his truck, that investigation revealed, where Daily pulled a 9 mm Glock 19 out of a backpack.
The corporal “jokingly said that he forgot it was in there and had previously found it in the same backpack at work,” a written statement from the witness said.
Daily had been renting a storage unit off base where he normally stored the pistol, he later told investigators. But he reportedly told the witness he often kept the pistol in his glove box because base police are “unable to to search that section unless you let them.”
After showing off the weapon, Daily loaded the gun with a magazine of hollow point bullets. When the witness became uncomfortable for the drunken brandishing the gun, Daily started to make fun of him, according to the investigation.
“Dude, you’re a Marine. Why are you scared of being around a gun?” Daily told the witness, according to the report.
Because of Daily’s drunken state, the witness didn’t take the gun away as he was afraid of what would happen if he did, according to the investigation.
Ballistics tests and Daily’s statements later confirmed that the pistol boasted in the parking lot was the same one used to shoot Cpl. Tyler P. Wallingford in the head in their barracks room less than three hours later.
Now, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation received by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request has shed more light on the events of that tragic night and untimely death of Wallingford, 21, from Standish, Maine.
Daily, 21, from Youngstown, Ohio, was sentenced in January to 69 months of confinement for willful discharge of a firearm under circumstances to endanger human life and involuntary manslaughter.
He had been drinking all day when he pointed what he says he thought was an empty weapon at Wallingford’s head and pulled the trigger.
‘I’m already drunk as f*ck’
After Daily left the other Marine in the parking lot he and Wallingford started to play the Xbox game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon in their barracks room in South Carolina.
Both corporals were aircraft ordnance technicians assigned to an F-35B training squadron Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
The roommates were playing online with a fellow Marine and friend of Wallingford who lived in a nearby barracks on the base. The nearby Marine was talking to Wallingford and Daily on speakerphone while the trio played.
Daily told investigators that he had nine beers before the shooting happened.
Text messages and witnesses from earlier that night confirmed Daily talking multiple times about how drunk he was.
“I’m already drunk as f*ck,” Daily had said in an 8:40 p.m. text message to a group of fellow Marines.
While on the game call, the friend heard Daily announce that he was “hammered.” Wallingford said he hadn’t started drinking yet but might later, the witness told investigators.
Shortly after hearing Daily said he was hammered, the Marine recounted video game play of the three approaching a hut in the middle of the field, he told investigators.
“At this time there was a lot of gunfire going off in the game and I ended up going upstairs to grab the objective,” the witness said, describing the game. When his player went to the second floor, Wallingford and Daily stayed on the first floor of the hut.
Suddenly he heard a “blood-curling” scream over the phone, and someone yelling out, “Wally, no!” Then the phone call ended, according to the investigation.
The friend moved his video game character downstairs in the hut, where he saw the characters of Wallingford and Daily standing motionless, according to the investigation.
The friend added in his statement that he did not hear a distinct gunshot over the shots happening in the game.
Shortly after the phone call ended, the friend tried to call Wallingford back but got no response, he told investigators.
The friend then got dressed and ran over to the barracks room where Wallingford had just been shot. Once he got there he saw flashing lights and police sirens and Daily laying on the ground handcuffed, according to a witness statement.
It was just after 9:30 p.m. on April 12, 2019.
‘I just shot my roommate’
Daily told investigators he had been joking around with his roommate when he picked up the pistol with his left hand, pointed it at Wallingford’s head and pulled the trigger.
Shocked by the gun actually firing, he saw blood flowing from his roommate’s head as Wallingford slumped over in the futon they were both sitting on, according to the investigation.
Daily then tried to “wake him up,” he told investigators. He screamed out ”Tyler, oh f*ck. I’m a f*cking idiot,” according to the investigation.
In shock, Daily fired rounds into the wall and mattress before eventually throwing the gun away in frustration, according to his statement. Investigators later found the pistol used to kill Wallingford lying in the corner of the room behind the Marines’ bunk bed.
The Marine living in the room below Daily and Wallingford told investigators it sounded like a hammer had hit the floor four to five times.
Another Marine and a former roommate of Daily who was eating dinner in the smoke pit said he heard a gunshot followed by screams, which he knew belonged to Daily. “I’m sorry,” the Marine recounted the screams saying. The screams were followed by four to six more shots, the Marine told investigators.
One Marine inside the barracks called 911 fearing that there was an active shooter in the hall, according to the investigation.
“It sounds like there’s shooting outside and they’re going around knocking on the doors,” the Marine told the Beaufort, South Carolina, 911 operator, according to transcripts in the investigation.
“I heard like 12″ shots, the Marine said, according to transcripts. “I’m not going to investigate, “I’m not putting myself in that kind of danger.”
Investigators found 15 fired cartridge casings when they inspected the room, according to the investigation. They found no evidence that any of the bullets fired inside the room penetrated through the wall into any neighboring rooms.
After firing his pistol into the wall Daily told the investigators he ran into the bathroom where he first tried to call 911.
Daily called 911 three times between 9:26 p.m. and 9:27 p.m. without getting the phone to connect, according to his statement and phone records.
A minute later Daily said he moved onto the catwalk of the barracks where he was finally able to connect, the investigation found.
“Hi, I’m sorry. I’m on the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. I just shot my roommate. I’m so f*cking sorry... I accidentally shot him,” Daily told the operator when he was finally able to get connected, the 911 transcript shows.
After finding out the location in which the shooting happened, the 911 operator asked Daily where on the body he had shot his friend.
“Head, sorry, f*ck. I didn’t f*cking ... f*ck,” Daily said, before the call abruptly ended.
The 911 operator was able to phone Daily back shortly after the first phone call ended. Daily told the operator he was sitting in the barracks stairwell, unarmed, waiting for base police to come and arrest him.
When the officer arrived they saw Daily sitting in the stairwell asked who he was, according to a statement by an officer.
“I’m the guy,” Daily told the officers. “I’m the guy that killed my friend.”
The officers rolled Daily onto his stomach and put him in handcuffs before moving to enter the barracks room where Wallingford remained, bleeding out on the futon, according to the investigation.
When the officers were allowed into the room by the Marine on barracks duty, they saw Wallingford slumped over with a single gunshot wound to his head. The officers checked for vital signs and noticed a faint pulse, according to an officer’s statement.
Emergency medical personnel rushed into the room and attempted to provide lifesaving medical procedures, but were unable to save the Marine.
One officer, who had arrived to the scene a bit later, had stayed with Daily while the others moved to find Wallingford.
“I was going to join the Coast Guard after I got out, I only had two months left, they’ll never take me now,” Daily told the officer, ignoring his warning to stop talking, according to the second officer’s statement.
“I’m going to spend eight to 10 years in jail for this, I know it,” Daily said.
A toxicology report on Wallingford showed that he only had caffeine in his system, no other drugs or alcohol, the investigation found.