A TOUR in Afghanistan didn't kill Timothy Loper, but trying to break up a fight outside a Camden bar did.
Loper, a Marine who grew up in Gloucester Township, Camden County, had gone to a party at the 20 Horse Tavern near the Camden waterfront and tried to intervene when he observed a fight in the parking lot at 2:46 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.
Shots were fired and Loper, married with a 6-year-old daughter, was struck multiple times, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said yesterday.
"He's just that type of person: a hero," said Loper's father, Timothy Loper Sr., of Camden. "He went there to have a good time, and now this."
The younger Loper served in the Marine Corps from 2008 to 2012, last stationed as a corporal in the 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion in Cherry Point, N.C., a spokeswoman for the Marine Forces Reserve said. He was in the Marine Corps' Individual Ready Reserve at the time of his death.
Facebook pictures show dozens of images of Loper with other Marines and locals in Afghanistan, where he was deployed from February to September 2010. His highest award as a Marine was the Navy Unit Commendation.
Loper's death marks the 51st homicide in Camden this year and the second fatal shooting outside the 20 Horse Tavern. In March, a 27-year-old man from Lindenwold, Camden County, was killed and two other men wounded during a shooting outside the bar. There were 62 homicides in Camden at this time last year.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office released a video yesterday of a man they said is wanted for questioning in connection with Loper's death. The man in the video, which can be viewed at http://ph.ly/camdenshooting, has a muscular build and a short beard and is wearing a sweater.
Loper's father said his son lived in Pine Hill, Camden County, and worked at Keystone Industries, a dental lab in Cherry Hill. Loper graduated from Highland Regional High School in Gloucester Township, where he played football and ran track, his father said.
"He did a one-year tour in Afghanistan and can't even come home and hang out with his friends," Loper Sr. said. "It's turned into a danger zone."
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the Camden County Prosecutor's Office at 609-548-1056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.