(KGTV) — ABC News has confirmed the identities of five of the 13 service members killed when a suicide bomber attacked the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.
At least one of the service members was based at Camp Pendleton.
While the Department of Defense has not officially identified those service members killed in the bombing, families and relatives have confirmed the names of at least five individuals who were killed in the attack.
According to the US Marine Corps, 11 Marines were killed in the attack.
"We continue to mourn the loss of these Marines and pray for their families. Our focus now is taking care of the families of those who were killed and caring for our injured. The identities and units of those killed will be withheld until 24 hours after all next-of-kin notifications are complete," a statement by the US Marine Corps read.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem Mae'Lee Grant Nikoui was one of those lives taken in the attack, according to the City of Norco, in Riverside County, where Nikoui attended high school. The city said Nikoui served in JROTC at Norco High School in 2019 and is survived by his mother, father, and siblings.
"Corporal Kareem Nikoui’s name will be enshrined on the 'Lest We Forget Wall' at the George A. Ingalls Veterans Memorial Plaza, which honors Norconians who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation," the city said in a post on social media.
The Riverside Sheriff's Association confirmed that U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, son of Riverside Deputy Sheriff Alicia Lopez and Riverside Sheriff's Captain Herman Lopez, also died in the attack.
Lopez planned on becoming a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy after returning from deployment, the association said.
"With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of a beloved member of the Riverside Sheriff's family, United States Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, one of one 13 United States service members killed at the Kabul airport during the U.S.led evacuation effort. We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Hunter, who chose to follow a life of service, selflessness, courage and sacrifice, like his parents. Hunter was a Riverside Sheriff's Explorer Scout with the Palm Desert Station from September 2014 to August 2017.
Hunter joined the United States Marine Corps and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Hunter, who was 22 years old at the time of his death, planned on becoming a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy after returning from his current deployment. Today the entire law enforcement community stands with the Lopez family, friends, fellow Marines, and all who loved him, praying for comfort, peace.
Hunter was the victim of vicious evil and was killed because he wore a United States Marnie uniform with love and pride. Our entire community feels the anguish, and we mourn the death of Hunter, who answered the call to serve, defend and protect our nation. Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine to Hunter wasn't a job; it was a calling. He loved his family, and as we grieve for Hunter and his fellow Marines taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how deeply he will be missed -- Semper Fi."
Navy Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman Max Soviak, of Ohio, was also killed in the attack, according to his family and former high school. Soviak was, "very proud to serve his country. He was very passionate about helping his fellow Americans and trying to get them home safely. There are no words to describe the pain our family is feeling. There will forever be a hole in our hearts," a statement from his mother, Rachel, read.
"We are praying for the service men and woman to arrive home safely to their loved ones," her statement continued.
"Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career. He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him. Max was full of life in everything he did. Our schools and local community are mourning the loss of Max. He and his family are in all of our thoughts and prayers. The family has asked that everyone respect their privacy at this difficult time," a statement from Edison Local School District Superintendent Thomas Roth read.
Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar confirmed on social media that Laredo-native Lance Cpl. David Espinoza was also killed. Espinoza is survived by his mother, stepfather, and brother, according to Cuellar.
"Mr. Espinoza embodied the values of America: grit, dedication, service, and valor,” Cuellar in a statement. “When he joined the military after high school, he did so with the intention of protecting our nation and demonstrating his selfless acts of service. I mourn him and all the fallen heroes in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to the Espinoza family in this extremely difficult time. The brave never die. Mr. Espinoza is a hero.”
Confirmed by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced on social media that the attack also claimed the life of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, of Bondurant.
"I’m devastated to learn Wyoming lost one of our own in yesterday's terrorist attack in Kabul. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Rylee McCollum of Bondurant. Jennie and I, along with all of Wyoming and the entire country thank Rylee for his service," Gordon wrote.
The family of Cpl. Daegan Page, of Nebraska, said he was a victim of Thursday's attack.
"Our beloved son, Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, was killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Daegan joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from Millard South High School. He loved the brotherhood of the Marines and was proud to serve as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California," said his family in a statement.
The statement says he was raised in Red Oak, Iowa and played hockey in Nebraska for the Omaha Hockey Club. He was also a longtime member of the Boy Scouts.
“Our hearts are broken, but we are thankful for the friends and family who are surrounding us at this time,” the family said.
After the Marines, Page planned on going to a trade school and possibly becoming a lineman.
The attack also claimed the life of Corporal Humburto Sanchez of Logansport, Indiana. Sanchez a rifleman with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Sanchez’ home duty station was Camp Pendleton, according to the 1st Marine Division.
The life of Lance Corporal Dylan Merola was also taken in the attack. Merola was from Rancho Cucamonga and was based out of Camp Pendleton.
Another of the lives lost during the attack was that of Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz. Originally from Saint Charles, Missouri, Schmitz was also a rifleman with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Staff Sergeant Darin Hoover of Salt Lake, Utah was killed during the terrorist attack in Afghanistan. Hoover was an infantry unit leader whose home duty station was Camp Pendleton.
The Department of Defense also confirmed the death of Sergeant Nicole L. Gee. Gee was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Gee is originally from Sacramento and was based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The DoD also identified Army Staff Sergeant Ryan C. Knauss of Corryton, Tennessee and one of those killed in Kabul. Knauss was assigned to the 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th PSYOP Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Sergeant Johanny Rosariopichardo of Lawrence, Massachusetts was also killed during the bombing in Kabul, according to the DoD. Rosariopichardo was assigned to 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain.