Marine who survived Afghanistan killed breaking up bar fight in Camden; suspect ID'd

Jim Dolan has the story.
December 3, 2013 8:31:59 PM PST
A Marine who served in Afghanistan was killed while trying to break up a fight outside a bar near his New Jersey home and police have now charged a man with his murder.

Authorities identify 31-year-old Darrell Crone of the 1200 block of Park Boulevard in Camden as the suspect in the killing of Timothy Loper Jr.

The 27-year-old former Marine was shot after going to a friend's birthday party on the Camden waterfront Saturday night.

Police say Crone was involved in an altercation outside 20 Horse Tavern at the intersection of 2nd and Spruce streets in Camden about 2:45 a.m. Sunday.

He is accused of brandishing a firearm and firing it during the altercation.

Authorities say Loper, of Pine Hill, was trying to break up the fight when he was shot multiple times.

Loper was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have released a surveillance video Tuesday showing Crone in hopes of someone recognizing him.

Meanwhile, the victim's father, Timothy Loper, Sr. is mourning the death of his namesake.

"I'll remember my son as a hero. He will always be a hero. He is my best friend," Loper Sr. said.

Loper was one of eleven children and the married father of a 6-year-old girl.

"He loves her. Everything he does is for his family. All them jobs, going to school, he did everything he could to provide for his family and give them a better life," Loper Sr. said.

He spent seven years in the Marines, which also included duty in Saudi Arabia.

"Tim fought in the war. All he wanted to do was celebrate that he made it home. All he wanted to have was a good time. He doesn't want confrontation. He never wants to see anything escalate," Loper Sr. said.

Crone is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911 immediately.

"I think [Tim] was just trying to calm things down," Loper Sr. said. "I don't know what the person may have been thinking. He took my baby."

"It's crazy. It's senseless. It's frustrating. We're mad, we're sad," stepmother Iris Quinones said.

Former Marine Eric Hsia visited the site of the shooting Tuesday to pay his respects at a small memorial. Hsia bunked with Tim Loper at boot camp and served in the same unit during a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.

"We were all there in the same area and we had some tough times and we went through a lot of stress and after making it through all of that, he comes home and...I don't know kind of a weird way to go," Hsia said.

Loper is the 51st homicide victim in Camden this year.