The San Diego coroner is expected to issue a report that calls the death of a Navy SEAL trainee a “drowning homicide,” CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin reported.
That’s not a finding of murder but it is a conclusion that James “Derek” Lovelace died not by accident, but “at the hands of others.”
The 21-year-old Lovelace lost consciousness during a swimming drill on May 6 in Coronado, Calif.
Naval Special Warfare Center spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids said at the time Lovelace was pulled out of a pool after showing signs he was having difficulty while treading water in a camouflage uniform and a dive mask. He was taken to a civilian hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Davids said.
Lovelace was in his first week of training as a SEAL trainee after joining the Navy about six months ago, Davids said. The exercise is designed to assess students’ competency, confidence and safety in the water, according to the Navy.
Lovelace was born in Germany, and he dreamed of becoming a SEAL, according to a death announcement from Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home and Southern Heritage Crematory in his home town of Crestview, Florida. His death was first reported by NBC News and The Virginian-Pilot.
He enjoyed any activity on the water and played baseball at Crestview High School and Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama, according to the death announcement.
Lovelace joined the Navy and graduated basic training on Jan. 28, 2016, in Great Lakes, Illinois. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Ribbon and Sharpshooter Pistol Qualification.
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Image courtesy of US Navy