River search suspended for missing Lejeune Marine

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Submitted: Tue, 04/17/2012 - 2:10am

Wilmington, NC (WWAY) — Crews have suspended their search for a Camp Lejeune Marine reported missing in the Cape Fear River.

The Public Affair’s Office at Camp Lejeune has confirmed he is Lance Cpl. John J. Pruitt of Fontana, CA. He is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.

Police say Pruitt either fell or jumped in the Cape Fear River late last night. A search for Pruitt resumed around noon today.

Wilmington Police, EMS, the Wilmington Fire Department, Water Rescue, as well as the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and Coast Guard assisted at the scene. Crews also used helicopters and sonar to search for Pruitt.


  • Marissa Samaro says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know John and he is one of the most sweetest, nicest person I have met. John you risk your life saving and protecting us so now it is our turn to come together and with all the love we have for you pray that you have a safe return. You still owe me a lamp shade John, you promised you would replace it so hurry and get your butt back. I pray for you John. Much love!!!!

  • Charly Grijalva says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Pruitt Family… being a parent myself I couldn’t imagine the pain his family is going through at this difficult time! The world has lost a wonderful man, RIP John!!!

  • christina says:

    i am deeply sorry for your loss. He was my brothers friend and i got the privilege of meeting him and talking to him and hanging out with him a couple times and he was super nice and respectful…he was kind hearted..and i am praying that they can find him and i pray that the LORD comforts you and helps you in this time of grief…once again i am so sorry..He was so young and he was fighting for our freedom..My God Bless you and your family.

  • Guest068924 says:

    We still are praying the best for John.

  • meagan says:

    To the Gomez and Pruitt family you all are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you get the answers you are all waiting for and continue the strength you have to stay together and get through this as a family. Alice and John my heart goes out to you both for the heart ach and pain you must be going through. Xoxo

  • Guest123 says:

    My husband and I were sitting on the docks a few feet down. I can tell you that it was quiet up until we heard the splash of John falling followed by the screaming of his friends. So if they were fighting ..it was at a low whisper, therefore I don’t think that they could have possibly been fighting at the time of the accident. I hope that helps you. Like I previously stated, I believe he was sitting on the ledge and fell forward/backward due to his unstable state and that is all. let me know if you need to talk with me further ..leave an email address of some sort.

  • Allee says:

    I cannot believe you would even dare open your mouth in any negative way about this boy! No matter what he was doing….the FACT is! His family has to bury him!!! A 24yr old marine so if you think it’s his “fault” or his actions or whatever it is your trying to publicize to the world….you are so very wrong!!! This is the most disrespectful thing you could possibly do, & I find you to be absolutely repulsive & extremely heartless! It’s disgusting!!! Someone’s Child Died!!!!!!! End of story!!! Your comments should only consist of condolences! No one cares what happened at a bar! Do yourself a favor & never write on another story again!!!! You & Beau!!!!

  • Allee says:

    I cannot believe you would even dare open your mouth in any negative way about this boy! No matter what he was doing….the FACT is! His family has to bury him!!! A 24yr old marine so if you think it’s his “fault” or his actions or whatever it is your trying to publicize to the world….you are so very wrong!!! This is the most disrespectful thing you could possibly do, & I find you to be absolutely repulsive & extremely heartless! It’s disgusting!!! Someone’s Child Died!!!!!!! End of story!!! Your comments should only consist of condolences! No one cares what happened at a bar! Do yourself a favor & never write on another story again!!!!

  • Michele says:

    My heart goes out to John’s family, friends, and brother Marines. I will continue to pray for John, and all who love and care about him. May God give you strength, courage, and faith.

  • Kwood says:

    Very sad,no fault should be placed, only sympathy for this young man, and his family.



  • ribbons says:

    please someone come forward and help this family. if anyone reading this was there and actually saw what happened please go to the police and let them know so the family can get answers. put yourself in their shoes, you would want the answers.if your one of the guys that was there im sure you are being told to be silent, but just remember sometimes doing the wrong thing is doing the right thing, please anyone who can give info give it to the authorities.

  • beau says:

    Its very sad that this happend but the man was so drunk he couldnt even stand. He didnt walk to the river alone he was pretty much carried there by is friends. The part i dont get is way would they take someone that drunk who cant even walk on his on to the river?? Then let him get close enough to fall in? Or let him go for a swim? Goes to show if u gonna get really really get drunk be around ppl who will take care of u or atleast watch out for u not walk/carry u to a river when u can hardly stand..

  • Deborah says:

    Is this true? Were you there? Did you go to the police with this information? please call the police and let them know. We need answers.


    John’s cousin

  • Citizen of the Republic says:

    The cape fear has a fast and intense current, except at tide change.

    Even a very good swimmer would have difficulty.

    Our heart goes out to the family.

  • Bar Patron says:

    I can vouch that he was unable to stand on his own as I saw him laying, falling, flailing, around on the ground in the middle of Front St. a couple minutes before the incident with my own eyes. There also could have been some horseplay (perhaps even possibly fighting) with some of his friends as this was going on. I just walked by real quick so hard to tell for certain. Actually made it a point to tell my friends as soon as I arrived at my destination (another nearby bar) as he was making such a skeptical. Maybe about a half hour later word had gotten to my location on the incident, and instantly myself and my friends who I told knew who it was.

    Came back by the bar where I originally saw him after the incident and the bouncer indicated that he ran down the alley from the bar towards the river after the horseplay or possible fighting with his friends. Didn’t see this personally so this should be taken with a grain of salt. Nobody around that I talked to had any idea what happened after he ran down the alley.

  • Guest123 says:

    People who come on here should keep their negative comments to themselves. Have any of you that were there gone to the police? You all want to focus on the fact that he was drunk, but is focusing on that one negative fact helping the police or the family find him??? NO. Be productive and tell the authorities what you know if you were there. If not, keep your OPINIONS to yourselfs and don’t make any comments that will hurt his family any more than they already are! They need help, support and prayers right now, not comments like those making this situation worse for them!….. PRUITT FAMILY… John and You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Do not let the negative comments get to you and come between your memories of him and the person you KNOW him to be.

  • becky pompa says:

    so tragic to hear this news. John is the son of my first cousin. The entire family is in shock. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and John. What ever happen, God was wittness to it all. He is now with the Lord, God Bless him and his dedication to his Country. John you will be missed but your spirit will live on through your family and all who had the pleasure of knowing you.

  • Harriet Grant says:

    I don’t know John but he is the nephew of a good friend of mine. Thanks to all who are praying. I know the family appreciates it.

  • Terri says:

    To the Pruitt family: my heart breaks for you all. John and my nephew/godson Devynn are dear friends. I know Devynn is devastated and has called on us all to pray. We are praying that any witnesses will come forward, that the search will continue, that a miracle will happen and they will find John alive. Regardless of the circumstances, no one is perfect and the choices made that evening do not EVER dictate rude, hurtful or matter-of-fact remarks by anyone. My son spent 8 years serving his country in the Marine Corps and 2 tours in Iraq. Every mothers nightmare is a phone call or clergy at the door – whether in service or out. My son escorted his best friend home to his mother due to a traffic accident, he was still a Marine and still had served his country. It is still heartbreaking. May God give you all peace and bring your son home to you. Semper Fi

  • Fromthaport says:

    I am sorry for your heartaches. I hope he is found. The sad truth about the Cape Fear river is that all of the intoxicated people I remember going missing in this way have not been recovered alive. Prayers for your family and his safe return.

  • Michele says:

    John, you and your family are continually in my prayers. God comfort and strengthen you during this time. I am still praying for that miracle.

  • Guest1234 says:

    Deborah do you have an email? Myself and a friend witnessed everything up until he headed towards the river. Just wanted to respect his and the family’s privacy.

  • Common Sense says:

    If you read the article, it clearly states that the search was suspended due to the current. If he did drift, do you really think the probability of him pulling himself out of the water after 200 ft of strong current is likely!?!?

  • Sasha says:

    I’m sorry but this doesn’t have anything to do with Azalea Festival….so don’t try & blame that!!! People, individual’s or Marines need to learn how to control their alcohol consumption. Nobody made that guy drink or act as he did…..rather he choose!!

  • justin says:

    Chalk it all up to yet another successful Azalea Festival…rumor has it, this young man was a marine based out of Jacksonville – a terrible shame.

  • ALYSSIA PRU says:

    Everyone has an opinion but maybe you can show a little respect. John is my 1st cousin and in my family we are all so close. Maybe you should stop and realize we are devastated and then we see people talking shit online! You’ve made bad choices and so have I. My cousin is a marine that just got back from afghanistan and spent a year of his life fighting for your freedom so you didn’t have to. Sincerely ALYSSIA PRUITT! We love you John!

  • Stephanie says:

    I am so sorry for you and your families lose. Please don’t let the opinions of a few of Wilmington ‘s loud mouth busy bodies spoil your opinion of our town. Some people just have nothing better to do than voice their opinions without stepping back and seeing the tragic end to a young life of a hero and how their words hurt. Your family will be in my prayers. RIP JOHN – I hope they recover him soon so that you can have some sort of closure to this tragedy.

  • kwood says:

    Most of us in Wilmington are very sorry for your loss.

  • John says:

    Can we confirm that someone who knows him personally saw him jump in? or did someone just report someone jumping in the river? and why couldn’t the person who reported it determine if he jumped or fell in??? did they just hear a splash and assume someone went in?

    if someone did jump in the guy could have drifted down river 200 feet and climbed up on the bank and went on down the road.

  • passerby says:

    I was right nearby.. I didn’t see him fall in, but i did hear the big splash of him falling and a thud, & his friends were frantic, yelling for him and crying. He fell between the riverwalk and the dock in that narrow space, could have easily hit his head. A girl said he had been “heavily drinking” … I don’t think he could have got away/run off. The current was also strong

  • Common Sense says:

    The article states that the search was suspended due to strong currents. It’s unlikely that he could have survived 200 feet of drifting.

  • Bar Patron says:

    I saw this guy rolling around (literally) on Front St a couple minutes before jumping (falling) into the river.

  • dahlia says:

    Did he jump or did he fall?

  • cre says:

    Wow that’s really sad. Sorry you had to witness this.

  • Guest4 says:

    Can’t believe some idiot didn’t blame the fact there weren’t “enough” taxis downtown as to the reason this guy was rolling around on the ground before he fell/jumped.

  • Guesttyberg says:

    A tragic death for this young man. My condolences to his family.

    But I cannot help but think that he is another victim of downtown Wilmington’s “fabulous” ALCOHOL CULTURE, which has been out of control for about five years now. No doubt about it, alcohol is a HUGE problem downtown. I live down here and see it every night.

  • Guest33 says:

    @guesttyberg, ***SHUT UP*** When your time comes, What will I blame it on. Your life issues. I will make it a point to do so.

  • Passerby says:

    I am almost certain he fell and did not jump. he was sitting on the ledge of the riverwalk and from what I gathered from his friends, he fell in. again, didnt see it but heard the splash. forgot to add an extra “heavily” to when I said a girl said he was “heavily drinking.” she said “heavily heavily drinking” . I don’t think there was even a reaching for help as he was gone as soon as he fell in, there wasn’t a struggle. Drinking that heavily plus most likely hitting his head bc it was an extremely narrow space = gone

  • Guest1 says:

    As a friend of the family, I would like to please ask people to have some respect for his family. I personally knew John. It disturbs me and his family how everyone is making this out to be a possible suicide. John would never do that. He has so much to live for. I understand that everyone has there opinions on what they THINK happened, but please understand that the family and friends of John are also reading your comments. Put yourself in their situation.

  • SusanK6461 says:

    Thank you for that clarification. With the high rate of posttraumatic stress disorder as well as other mental health issues that come with wartime service, it’s an understandable speculation.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Alcohol and water do not mix. Sad that these people keep dying downtown of such preventable stupidity.

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