NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A father from Staten Island is calling on the Marines for more answers about the death of his son while serving in Japan. This has come on the heels of the suspicious death of a soldier from Chinatown.
Marine Pvt. Hamson McPherson, Jr., is buried at Fairlawn Cemetery on Staten Island. He died in May while stationed in Okinawa. Investigators said his death was ruled a suicide. His father was told his son doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire.
“The stories that the Marines has given me, I don’t believe. It’s not the truth,” Hamson McPherson told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu on Tuesday.
McPherson said investigators showed him a suicide note, in which his son apologized for the wrong that he’d done and asked for forgiveness. But the Marine’s father said it was not his son’s handwriting.
“I asked them to give me a copy of the suicide note. They refused,” McPherson said.
The heartbroken father said his son called him many times, complaining about racial problems he faced overseas.
“He said ‘daddy I’m having a problem with a fellow Marine. He is white.’ This Marine constantly called him ‘cotton picking [n-word],’” McPherson said. “I said it’s not over yet. You got to watch your back now. They’re going to snake you, just like that I told him on the phone.”
The Marine Corps released a statement saying: “We cannot speculate on the results of that investigation. The Marine Corps takes seriously any incident involving injury or death to its service members.”
The investigation is still ongoing. McPherson’s father has been watching the case of Army Pvt. Danny Chen from Chinatown, whose death in Afghanistan was also ruled a suicide at first. However, after pressure from family and leaders in the Asian community claiming racist hazing the Army recently arrested eight soldiers in Chen’s death.
McPherson’s family said they won’t rest until they find out the truth.
A veterans’ rights lawyer is working with the McPherson family and said there are several investigations underway pertaining to the case.
One of those investigations has been concluded, but the results haven’t been made public yet.
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