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Marine who helped in Lynch rescue killed at family barbecue

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LONG BEACH, California (AP) -- A Marine who helped in the rescue of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch in Iraq was shot to death at a family barbecue, just 12 days before he was to be discharged.

Lance Cpl. Sok Khak Ung, 22, and a family friend, Vouthy Tho, 21, were killed early Sunday in a garage at a Long Beach home by a gunman who fired six to eight shots before fleeing, police said.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe offered a $10,000 reward for information on the killings.

"I am outraged that someone would so cowardly gun down this brave soldier," Knabe said. "Ung served his country well, protecting our freedoms in the war against terrorism. His killers should be brought to justice."

Ung, a Cambodian-American combat engineer from San Francisco, was part of a "diversion force" that attacked the enemy to distract them while a special force unit went into the hospital to rescue Lynch on April 1, Camp Pendleton spokesman Bill Lisbon said Tuesday.

Ung earned a Purple Heart after he was hit by shrapnel from a land mine later that month, Lisbon said. He returned from Iraq in July, stationed at Camp Pendleton, and was set to complete his four years of military service on October 31.

"This man had only 12 days left with the Marine Corps," Lisbon said. "It's sad to think he came back from the war to die in this country."

Tho, an aspiring rapper who was about to release an album, was shot once in the head, officials said. He was pronounced dead Monday night after being hospitalized in critical condition, police spokesman Greg Schirmer said.

Police have not said whether they have a suspect in the shootings, and a motive remained unknown.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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