Trainee Navy SEAL's Drowning Death in Pool Ruled a Homicide
A medical examiner has ruled the May drowning death of a prospective Navy SEAL during training was a homicide.
The San Diego County autopsy report released Wednesday said Seaman James Derek Lovelace died after he was repeatedly dunked in a pool by an instructor in his first week of basic training.
The cause of death is listed as drowning with a contributing heart problem.
While Lovelace's death has been ruled a homicide, it does not imply any criminal wrongdoing and the instructor has not been charged, the Associated Press notes.
Lovelace, 21, was reportedly pulled out of the pool after having difficulty treading water at the SEAL facility in Coronado, California, on May 6.
Emergency responders were not able to revive the Florida native, Naval Special Warfare Center spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids said.
As part of his first week of training, Seaman Lovelace was in a camouflage uniform and a dive mask doing a pool familiarization exercise.
According to the report, instructors are supposed to splash students, make waves and yell at them but are not advised to dunk them underwater.
The instructor who allegedly dunked Lovelace has been assigned to administrative duties while the military investigates, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids.
According to an online obituary, Lovelace was a native of Crestview, Florida, where he attended Crestview High School.
Lovelace attended Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama before graduating from basic training on January 28, 2016 in Great Lakes, Illinois.
Lovelace was pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, according to his obituary.
He is survived by his father, two sisters and other extended family.