Medical experts rules US Navy SEAL's death from drowning as homicide

Thursday, 7 July, 2016 - 17:15

The death of a Navy SEAL trainee who drowned after being repeatedly 'dunked' during a pool exercise has been ruled a homicide.

The San Diego County medical examiner’s office issued the ruling after reviewing a video of the May 6 training exercise that showed the instructor splashing and dunking the trainee, James D. Lovelace, for five minutes after he had shown signs of distress.

When Lovelace died in May, Naval Special Warfare Command said he was participating in introductory pool training as part of the grueling Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course and that instructors pulled him from the pool after safety observers saw he was struggling. The death investigation, based upon video and interview, states instructors harassed and splashed Lovelace for nearly five minutes after they saw he was struggling to swim the length of the pool in utilities and boots. That harassment included dunking his head underwater at least twice — an action prohibited during this training evolution, the report said.