WILLMAR -- A Willmar area family is mourning the loss of a loved one who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Friday.
Army Spec. Christopher David Horton and two fellow soldiers were killed by enemy small arms fire when they were ambushed in Paktia, Afghanistan, according to information the family has received.
Horton, 26, was serving his first deployment in Afghanistan with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, A Company, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
He is the son of the Rev. David and Cherie (Bonnema) Horton of Tulsa, Okla., and husband of Jane Horton of Owasso, Okla.
He is also the grandson of Roger and Marcy Bonnema of Willmar, and Jeri Horton of Tulsa, Okla.
Roger and Marcy Bonnema said family members in Oklahoma received word of his death Friday evening, but waited until Saturday to contact them with the news.
They remember their grandson as "grandpa's boy'' and as someone who loved to serve others. He was sniper qualified and was a graduate of the Missouri Military Academy. He enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in 2008.
The family had considered holding a memorial service in Willmar, but has now decided against doing so.