Lincoln Journal Star
Updated 2 hrs ago
Later, his roommate would tell Josh's grieving parents their son’s face went blank -- like a curtain came down -- before he turned away from the television and went to his room, then returned to the hallway.A single shot followed, then silence.
Joshua Markel loved being a Marine. Here, he hands out candy to kids during his first deployment to Iraq, where he also made friends with local police. Courtesy photoHe had a beer at the bar with his dad that Saturday, then headed home to watch his Huskers play a night game.
Josh Markel had been living in the civilian world for nearly three years by Oct. 6, 2012, a Lincoln North Star graduate deployed twice as an infantryman in Fox Company — 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
Josh was the corporal who always had a joke but was steady under fire. Looked up to by his fellow Marines.
Back in Lincoln, the 25-year-old worked as a correctional officer at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, receiving honors for his work ethic and his role in attempting to save an inmate critically injured in an altercation.
And he was closing in on his dream of a law enforcement career, with a job offer from the Hall County Sheriff’s Department.
He was also drinking too much. He was struggling to sleep. He was going through a divorce.
He went to the VA for help, but didn’t want to take the medication doctors recommended, his father says.
Later, at the urging of his mother, he saw a counselor, declaring himself fine after a pair of sessions.
And everything seemed fine that last day.
Josh worked until mid-afternoon, talked football with his dad at the bar and called his parents several times during the game, a matchup with Ohio State in Columbus.
The tight-knit trio talked often, and Josh went over weekly for supper and to play cards, four-point pitch, his favorite.
Their son sounded like himself, Jim and Patti Markel remember.
“I know he was a little disappointed in the score,” Patti says. “But Josh was always positive that Nebraska would pull it off.”
In the end, Ohio State rolled over the Huskers and Patti went to bed thinking: I bet Josh is madder than heck ...
A police officer rang their doorbell at 1:30 a.m.
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