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Marine shooting death at North Carolina base appears accidental: spokesman

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A "negligent discharge" by a U.S. Marine on guard duty is likely to blame for the shooting death of a fellow sentry at a base in North Carolina, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

A sentry at Camp Lejeune died Tuesday evening from a single gunshot to the chest after another sentry discharged an M4 rifle inside the guard shack at the main gate of the base, officials said.

The sentry who discharged the gun remained in custody as military law enforcement officials investigate the incident further, base spokesmen said, but information about possible criminal charges was being withheld.

Though the shooting appears to have been accidental, "it will take several weeks of forensic examination to confirm this with absolute certainty," said Camp Lejeune spokesman Nat Fahy.

The military has not released the identity of either Marine, and the base was not locked down as a result of the shooting.

Last week, a soldier shot and killed three and wounded 16 at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas before turning the gun on himself. The rampage was the third shooting at a military base in the United States in about six months and raised questions about security at military installations.

Camp Lejeune, located outside Jacksonville, was founded in 1941 and is home to one Navy and several Marine commands.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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