Court-martial set in shooting death of Lance Corporal who was ‘born to be a Marine’

Lance Cpl. Austin Brian Schwenk was killed on Oct. 18, 2023 at Camp Lejeune. Cpl. Jesse Thomas Bopp’s trial is scheduled for November.
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Marine Lance Cpl. Austin Brian Schwenk
Lance Cpl. Austin Brian Schwenk was shot and killed at Camp Lejeune on Oct. 18, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Ohio)

Lance Cpl. Austin Brian Schwenk was born on the Marine Corps’ largest base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

“He was born a Marine,” said his father Robert Brian Schwenk Jr., who served in the Marines from 2002 to 2006. Austin followed his father into the Marines, graduating from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in 2022.

In October, Lance Cpl. Schwenk was shot and killed at Camp Lejeune in an incident the Marines have released few details on.

Another Marine, Corporal Jesse Thomas Bopp, is set to face a general court-martial, the Marines confirmed this week. Bopp faces charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, and violation of a lawful order in connection with Schwenk’s death.

Bopp’s court-martial is scheduled to take place between November 4th and 18th at Camp Lejeune, according to the 2nd Marine Division. He is being held beyond the end of his current contract in pretrial confinment in the Marine Corps Installations – East Regional Brig at Camp Lejeune.

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Marine Corps Times first reported that Bopp would be court-martialed for the death of Schwenk, 19, who was shot on Oct. 18, 2023 in a barracks at Camp Lejeune.

Prosecutors have accused Bopp of killing Schwenk with a firearm, according to his charge sheet, which was provided to Task & Purpose.  Bopp is also accused of “wrongfully, possessing, carrying, displaying, firing, and discharging a weapon aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.” 

The charge sheet does not include any further information about the circumstances of Schwenk’s death.

General courts-martial are reserved for the most serious offenses under the military’s justice system. The maximum penalty that Bopp could face if he is convicted of the murder charge would be a death sentence. He could also face prison time if convicted of murder or manslaughter ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Task & Purpose was unable to reach Bopp’s defense attorney on Friday.

After enlisting in the Marine Corps in January 2019, Bopp completed recruit training in San Diego. His military awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Certificate of Commendation, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Both Bopp and Schwenk were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines at the time of the shooting.

Schwenk’s father, who shares the same middle name as his son, declined to discuss the circumstances of his son’s death to preserve the integrity of the upcoming trial.

He described his son as someone whose light shone into anyone who was around him.
“He could make anyone smile,” Robert Brian Schwenk Jr. said. “At 19 years old he would still run around with his little 8-year-old sister acting like a kid, playing hide and seek and making sure that he showed her the love of a big brother.”

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