Marine Corps has no record that suspect in Milwaukee acid attack was ever a Marine

The Marine Corps says it has no record of service for Clifton A. Blackwell, the 61-year-old Milwaukee man arrested on Saturday night for allegedly throwing battery acid on a Hispanic man while asking him, "Why did you come here and invade my country?"

Marine Corps has no record that suspect in Milwaukee acid attack was ever a Marine

The Marine Corps says it has no record of service for Clifton A. Blackwell, the 61-year-old Milwaukee man arrested on Saturday night for allegedly throwing battery acid on a Hispanic man while asking him, “Why did you come here and invade my country?”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Associated Press previously reported that Blackwell, 61, was a Marine Corps vet based on comments from both his mother Jacqueline, 83, of California, and brother Arthur, 63, of Colorado.

But a Marine Corps spokeswoman, Yvonne Carlock, told Task & Purpose that the service “did not have a record matching the info they provided for the perpetrator.”

Blackwell was arrested on Saturday night in south Milwaukee after allegedly throwing battery acid on 42-year-old Mahmud Villalaz, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from Peru, following a dispute over how the latter had parked his truck, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Arthur Blackwell had stated that his brother had served at least four years in the Marines and “was not a confrontational person.”

When reached by Task & Purpose, he reiterated that his brother was honorably discharged after a four-year term in the Corps in “the late 1980s,” where he was deployed to Panama.

Blackwell could not provide additional details regarding his brother's service.

“He was a pistol champion, I believe, and he earned a Pistol Sharpshooter badge,” he said. “But I haven't talked to him in 25 years … he's never been in contact with us.”

Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Jaqueline Backwell stated that her son had been under the care of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center for service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Once you've been in the service, you look at the world a different way,” Jacqueline Blackwell, a California psychologist and herself a military veteran, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I don't know if people can understand if they haven't been there.”

When Task & Purpose called two numbers listed for Jacqueline, Arthur answered: “She's not here.”

Jared Keller

Jared Kelleris the executive editor of Task & Purpose. His writing has appeared in Aeon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Contact the author here.

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