Douglass Marine in critical condition

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Douglass teenager is in a Missouri intensive care unit tonight. Private 1st Class Matthew Pereiro received multiple injuries during an altercation, but details as to what happened are sketchy, even to family members. Sunday night Pereiro got hurt at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The eighteen year old was LifeFlighted to St. John's Hospital in nearby Springfield with head injuries. His parents and an aunt are there tonight by his bedside.

Another aunt and uncle wait for news from their Nacogdoches County home. They know their nephew is fulfilling a dream to be a Marine, but they wonder tonight if it will come true. L.V. Gatlin commented that the family was concerned for Pereiro's safety if he was ever sent to Iraq. It never occurred to them he would get hurt at training camp. Gatlin said, "When you get one that's got their mind set than you have to pray to god that everything goes right."

Something didn't go right for Private Pereiro. His mother, Nita Pereiro wrote in an email. "My name is Nita Pereiro, I am the Mother of Pfc. Matthew Pereiro of the U.S. Marine Corps.  I am sending this email to set the facts straight on the condition of my son. I received a phone call early Monday morning concerning an injury my son received while on a military base. Details on how he was injured are yet unknown. He is currently in critical but stable condition and recovering from a serious head injury. He was originally on life support but was taken off the ventilator this morning and is responsive and continuing to show improvement. We, his family, appreciately your thoughts and prayers and ask that you continue to pray for him." Nita Pereiro, mother of Pfc. Matthew Pereiro of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Gatlin recalled, "He was always a fun loving kid, played easy and ever since, at an early age, he wanted to be a marine." That was the first thing the Douglass teenager did after graduating from high school in May. In June he headed to boot camp. He's now at Fort Leonard Wood, where basic combat skills and instruction are taught. Pereiro is studying engineering and excelled in his training. Gatlin said the young man's platoon scored the highest score given for performance. He added, "Whatever happened to him, they're gonna have to pay for it and somebody higher up is gonna make 'em pay." Right now the family, and particularly the parents are concentrating on getting Matthew well.

We are told by the public affairs department at Fort Leonard Wood that someone will be contacting KTRE with more information. We will report what they say, when we receive the call.