A Marine from Lauderdale County was killed in Iraq this week in the Sunni Muslim town of Ramadi, family members say.
The family members identified the Marine as Pfc. Christopher Mabry, 19. The name of his unit was not immediately available. The Department of Defense has not identified Mabry as a casualty.
Mike Mabry of Meridian said his nephew was in the Marines and stationed in Iraq.
"My brother, Lewis, was working in the yard yesterday when Marines came up the house and told him,'' Mike Mabry told The Associated Press. "They are supposed to be at my mother's house this afternoon.
"This is a shock to everybody,'' he said.
Family members said Mabry was one of 12 Marines killed while battling Suni insurgents on Wednesday in Ramadi, west of Baghdad.
Mabry was an honors student at Clarkdale Attendance Center where also played football. Mabry was deployed to Iraq in February, months after becoming a Marine. He signed up to enlist last year during his senior year in high school.
"He was an exceptional person,'' his grandmother, Frances Mabry, told The Associated Press. "The entire community is offering their support, our church, everyone.''
Family members last spoke to the Marine about two weeks ago. Frances Mabry said her grandson asked for Pop-Tarts, M&Ms, trail mix and disposable razors.
She said she mailed the box along with a birthday card last week. Mabry would have been 20 on April 29.
"He wanted me to send him stuff that he could share with the other Marines,'' Frances Mabry said.
Family members said Mabry's funeral is expected to be held next week after an autopsy has been performed on his body in Denver and then returned to Meridian.