Suspect in killing of fmr. Marine in Camden surrenders

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December 4, 2013 9:18:47 AM PST
The suspect in the killing of a former U.S. Marine in Camden has surrendered to police.

Darrell Crone, 31, of the 1200 block of Park Boulevard, turned himself in to Camden County Police at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

He is charged with murder for the shooting death of Timothy Loper Jr.

Investigators say Crone served nearly nine years for a robbery he committed as a juvenile and was recently paroled in March on a weapons offense.

Loper, a 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 a fight outside 20 Horse Tavern at the intersection of 2nd and Spruce streets in Camden about 2:45 a.m. Sunday.

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

"It looks like there was a friend of Mr. Crone who got into an altercation with a friend of Mr. Loper," said Jason Loughlin of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. "Everything we have indicates that Mr. Loper was not involved in this."

Authorities say the fight was over a girl.

Loper was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

"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.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday at the Antioch Baptist Church.

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


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