SURF CITY, NC (WECT) – Camp Lejeune has released its first statement in regards to an incident involving a Marine, who is accused of attacking a Surf City cab driver over the weekend. The incident was caught on video inside the taxi.
"We are aware of the circumstances surrounding the incident involving one of our gunnery sergeants, and we are fully cooperating with local officials to get to the bottom of this matter quickly and efficiently," said Col. James Glynn, commanding officer of Marine Special Operations School, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, in an emailed release. "Our thoughts go out to the cab driver and his family and we hope he has a speedy recovery."
Surf City Police Chief Mike Halstead said warrants have been obtained against 30-year-old Gunnery Sgt. John Adam Kinosh in the beating of driver Charles Hawkesworth Jr. Kinosh can not be served until he is released from a psychiatric hospital. He entered the hospital after the incident.
According to Halstead, Kinosh will be charged with one count of felony inflicting serious bodily injury and one count misdemeanor communicating threats.
He said the Marine checked himself into a psychiatric hospital and are waiting until he's released to serve the warrants.
Detective Claxton, the lead on the case, worked with the Onslow County District Attorney's office and Hawkesworth's doctors to determine the injury was serious enough to warrant felony charges.
Hawkesworth's surgery is scheduled for Thursday at UNC hospital.
"We've had one of our drivers beat up," Rex Bowen told the 911 operator.
Video from inside the taxi cab shows Kinosh attacking the driver. The attack happened early Sunday morning. The stamp on the video said it happened just after 1:00 Sunday morning on North New River Road between Third and Fourth Streets.
Rex Bowen, owner of Island Taxi, told WECT.com Sunday night that Hawkesworth has been released from the hospital and recovering at home. He said the victim suffered multiple fractures to his face and received about 15 stitches.
Island Taxi suspended operations Sunday, according to Bowen. He explained the business no longer provides shared rides, because of the incident.
"We used to pick up a couple people if they were all going in the same direction," he said.
Before the attack, the owner installed video cameras into all of his cabs to ensure the safety of his drivers and passengers. He said he's been in business for five years and this is the first time one of his drivers has ever been assaulted.
"It's disappointing that something like this would happen and I would have to change. We try to be a friendly business," he said.
Hawkesworth filed arrest warrants for the man who attacked him, according to Bowen.
"He is a danger," said Bowen.
Police said Kinosh is assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command at Stone Bay. Bowen said the fact that the suspect is a Marine makes the situation even more disturbing.
"It just amazes me that the guy flipped the way he did. I understand he's checked himself into a mental institution to avoid prosecution. That bothers me even more," Bowen said.
Friends and family members have created a Facebook page to support Hawkesworth. They are hoping the well wishes and support will help in the recovery process.