Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
A U.S. Military Academy cadet from Gardena has been found dead at the facility in New York State, authorities said Wednesday.
Cadet Kade Kurita, 20, was found dead on Tuesday night on the grounds of the academy at West Point, the academy reported.
“We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita’s family and friends,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, 60th superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Kurita was unaccounted for since Friday at about 5:30 p.m. when he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition, according to the academy, which found no cell phone or financial activity by the cadet during the search.
The cause of death is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected, officials said.
The West Point Military Police, New York State police, Coast Guard, CSX railroad police, local police, and the 23rd Military Police Company from Fort Drum, N.Y., assisted in an extensive search.
“I would like to thank the N.Y. State Police and the 23rd MP Company along with partners,” Williams said. “They exhibited exceptional professionalism as demonstrated by their tremendous efforts in searching for Cadet Kurita.”
According to The New York Post, the academy had said earlier that Kurita’s M4 rifle also was missing, but he wasn’t believed to be carrying any magazines or ammo. Officials on Wednesday did not mention what happened to the rifle.
The academy said during the search that there was no indication Kurita posed a threat to the public, but he might “be a danger to himself.”
According to his Facebook page, Kurita attended North High School from 2013 to 2017.
Military.com quoted an Army official who wished to remain anonymous as saying that Kurita posted a short note on Snapchat “alluding to the outcome.”
The official said that Kurita, who was found in a basement in a building on campus, apparently took his own life with a single round from the M4.
“Based on the teachers and professors, he was an exceptional student and good at his military stuff,” the official said.
First and Proud, the official Facebook page of the U.S. Military Academy, First Regiment, posted the following on Wednesday:
“On Oct. 18, 2019, First Reg lost one of our brothers. Kade Kurita, Co. H1, was a remarkable friend, student, and company mate.
“If you ever needed a positive word, a helping hand, someone to point out the silver lining, or to give a big thumbs up, Kade was there. If there was anything he was notorious for, it was caring more for his classmates than he did for himself.
“Several H1 firsties remember having to tell him to take care of himself before others, to little avail. He threw himself into everything he did, no holds barred whether it was company Sandhurst, the Cadet Film Forum, classes, or friendships.
“He brightened the lives of everyone who knew him, and it is up to us to keep that light burning for him. We ask that you remember Kade not how he left us, but how he lived – with love in his heart for everyone he came across.
“Be thou at peace, Kade.”