Senior Airman R’Chardrick Markray survived two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan only to be shot and killed in North Las Vegas outside a baby shower on Saturday night.
“We’re pretty shattered,” said Lt. Col. Brian Fox of the Air Force’s 763rd Maintenance Squadron, the Nellis-based squadron in which 22-year-old Markray had served since 2003.
“For it to happen here in town contributes to the shock,” Fox said.
Markray and another man were shot about 11 p.m. outside a house in the 6400 block of Starling Mesa Street, near Losee Road and Centennial Parkway, police said.
Authorities took both victims to University Medical Center, but Markray died. The other man, whose name and age were withheld by police, was recovering from his wounds Monday, authorities said.
As of Monday evening, North Las Vegas police had not arrested any suspects in the shooting and did not know why Markray was shot, said officer Sean Walker, a spokesman for the department.
Markray’s commanding officer likewise had no idea why the award-winning airman and father of a 2-year-old girl was killed.
“This is not someone we can imagine being targeted,” Fox said.
“He could be humorous, and he could make you laugh in a heartbeat,” Fox said. “But when it came down to ‘let’s get the job done,’ he focused on what was important and how to do things safely. And then he took care of his troops.”
Originally from a suburb of Shreveport, La., Markray had lived in Southern Nevada since June 2003. Markray’s 250-member squadron does maintenance work on rescue helicopters, and Markray was the lead technician for the HH60 helicopters’ gun systems, Fox said.
Markray was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 for 120 days. He later served two 120-day tours in northern Iraq at the Balad Air Base, first in January 2006 and then again in September.
Fox didn’t know whether Markray had come under fire while in Iraq or Afghanistan. But he said mortar and rocket attacks were common at Balad Air Base.
Barbara Markray, the airman’s great-aunt, was devastated to learn that Markray had been killed in the United States. When she first learned that he had been killed, she presumed it had happened in Iraq.
“Most any parent or family would be worried to have a family member go there (to Iraq). I was blown away to learn that he was killed in America,” said Barbara Markray, who spoke by phone from her home in Detroit.
She described Markray as a “good kid” who was quiet and interested in music and computers.
Fox said Markray had been named the 23rd Maintenance Group’s weapons airman maintenance professional of the year. He also had been awarded an Air Force achievement medal for his work at a training session, Fox said.
Markray will receive a posthumous medal recognizing his career in the Air Force, Fox said.
The 763rd Maintenance Squadron has not had a wartime casualty in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Fox said. But in the past 23 months, the squadron has had three deaths including Markray’s. The other two airmen died in traffic accidents, Fox said.
“Back home, tragedy strikes,” Fox said.
Nellis Air Force Base is holding a memorial service for Markray at 9 a.m. Friday morning in the base chapel. Anyone who wants to contribute to the Markray Memorial Fund to help his daughter can call the Armed Forces Bank at Nellis at 651-8228 or 651-0019, Fox said.