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Ex-Camp Pendleton Marine Dies in East Coast Murder-Suicide

David Draa, who is also a former San Diego police officer, is believed to have gunned down a friend before fatally shooting himself in Maryland.

Investigators sought Monday to determine what prompted a weekend murder-suicide carried out by a former San Diego police officer at his home near Washington, D.C.

David Draa, 30, is believed to have gunned down a friend before fatally shooting himself at an apartment complex on Flower Avenue in Takoma Park, Md., about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

It was unclear what might have led Draa—a one-time Camp Pendleton-based Marine who had been an officer with the San Diego Police Department for a year, beginning in July 2008—to open fire on 30-year-old Steven "Kyle" Hickman, said Catherine Plevy, a spokeswoman for the Takoma Park Police Department.

Officers found both men dead on a driveway outside Draa's home. They had been bike riding Saturday.

Detectives have concluded that Draa, who was employed as a special- education schoolteacher, shot Hickman shortly after 1:30 a.m., as the victim was kneeling over his bicycle, trying to fix a flat tire, according to Plevy.

"We believe that Kyle never knew what happened," she said.

The two men were close friends and had been co-workers at one point, according to police.

"Kyle often was a sounding board for David during their friendship, and from family members' accounts was trying to help David through personal issues," she said.

One or both men apparently had been drinking prior to the shooting.

"We can only speculate as to why this occurred," Plevy said. "We believe that David had experienced severe trauma during his tour of duty while serving in the Marine Corps, as well as some difficulties in his personal life. ... It can only be speculated that possibly with the combination of alcohol and perhaps undiagnosed issues, he took his friend's life."

Draa had been "a respected and well-liked teacher," she added.

SDPD spokesman Gary Hassen said privacy rules prevented him from saying why Draa left the department four years ago.

-City News Service

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