Marine being held in county jail

A Beaufort Marine remained behind bars Monday after being charged with shooting another Marine in the head at a party Saturday morning.

Lance Cpl. Patrick King, a Syracuse, N.Y., native stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, was arrested Saturday and charged with assault with intent to kill. He was being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center on $50,000 bond as of Monday night.

The air station declined to comment on King, citing a Department of Defense policy that prevents the base from releasing information on a Marine in police custody before his arraignment.

Witnesses told Beaufort County sheriff's investigators that King was at a house party in Polk Village at about 1 a.m. playing with a handgun he'd brought with him.

Believing the gun was unloaded, officers said, King pointed it at 21-year-old Cpl. Tony Martinez-Ramirez and pulled the trigger. A round struck Martinez-Ramirez in the head, critically wounding him, according to authorities.

He was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital before being sent to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

An update on his condition was not available from the hospital.

Witnesses described King and Martinez-Ramirez as friends and said there hadn't been an argument between them that would have contributed to the shooting.

The Sheriff's Office declined to release additional information on how many bullets were in the gun before King fired it, saying only that two magazines were recovered as evidence from the crime scene.

The Polk Village shooting was the area's second accidental shooting in less than a week.

Rasheem Ray, 17, of Burton was killed Aug. 10 when a stolen 9-mm handgun that he and his friends were playing with accidentally discharged. Ray was shot in the head and pronounced dead at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

While no charges have been filed, the Solicitor's Office is reviewing that case to determine if it will be prosecuted, said Cpl. Robin McIntosh, sheriff's spokeswoman.

McIntosh said the reason King has been charged with Martinez-Ramirez's shooting and none of Ray's friends have been charged in connection with their friend's death is because King pointed the firearm at his victim.

"In Rasheem's case, there was a true accidental discharge," she said. "They weren't holding the gun in a way that could have led them to believe that it was going to go off. In the other case, you have a man playing with a gun that he thinks isn't loaded, pointing it at someone else and pulling the trigger. There's a big difference."