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Haditha Casts Pall over a Marine Family's Grief

George Terrazas, 15, and Andy Terrazas, 14, flank a picture of big brother Miguel (at center of framed photo). Both young men say they plan to enlist in the Marines.
John Burnett, NPR
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George Terrazas, 15, and Andy Terrazas, 14, flank a picture of big brother Miguel (at center of framed photo). Both young men say they plan to enlist in the Marines.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is probing the alleged unprovoked killings of 24 civilians last November by U.S. Marines in the insurgent hotbed of Haditha, Iraq.

The dead include women and children. According to news accounts, the killings were in retaliation for the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, Jr. He was 20 years old.

For more than fifty years, the Terrazas family has run a tiny store called Ben's Tacos, in the Segundo Barrio neighborhood of El Paso, Texas. On this Memorial Day, family members are struggling with the scandal that has overshadowed the death of Lance Cpl. Terrazas.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas, John Burnett covers immigration, border affairs, Texas news and other national assignments. In 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, he won national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for continuing coverage of the immigration beat. In 2020, Burnett along with other NPR journalists, were finalists for a duPont-Columbia Award for their coverage of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico program. In December 2018, Burnett was invited to participate in a workshop on Refugees, Immigration and Border Security in Western Europe, sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.