An active duty United States Marine from Kingsville was laid to rest on Monday in his hometown, after being killed in a pedestrian accident by an alleged drunk driver on Jan. 26 in Oceanside, Calif.
The body of Juan “Tres” Muniz III, 22, returned to Kingsville on Saturday night with an escort from the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office and the Kingsville Police Department, along with several other law enforcement agencies.
Muniz’s body was transferred from San Antonio to Kingsville as family members and dozens of community members awaited his arrival at the Kingsville Memorial Funeral Home, waving flags in honor of Muniz along the way.
Mike Tamez, a former agent with the Kleberg County Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force, said he wanted to help pay his respects to Muniz and his family for their service to the nation. Tamez and others reached out to law enforcement agencies around the state to help with the escort and were overwhelmed by the support from them all.
“We honor our fallen, (whether) they’re military or they’re police officers,” Tamez said. “Unequivocally, to us here, there’s a saying – they (military) stand up for the same ideals and principles that we do. That’s why we had that turnout.”
“We want his family to know just how much we respect what that young man did for this country,” he said.
Muniz served in the Marine Corps for four years, and was stationed at Camp Pendleton.
Muniz was hit by a vehicle in Oceanside, Calif. while crossing the street at about 1 a.m., Oceanside police officials said.
The driver of the vehicle, 31-year-old William Vaden, 31, was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence, according to online records.
Tamez said it was his hope that the family will take comfort in the knowledge that Muniz was honored in the way he deserved to be on his way home. Tamez is a retired Marine, and said he felt an obligation to help bring his brother home. Having so many law enforcement agencies feel the same way, he said, was amazing to see.
“It was overwhelming,” Tamez said. “We knew we had to make it happen for him.”