Navy SEAL Candidate’s Death Ruled a Homicide: Medical Examiner

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James Derek Lovelace is seen in an official U.S. Navy photo.

The death of a 21-year-old sailor during Navy SEAL training has been ruled a homicide by the San Diego County medical examiner.

The autopsy report on James Derek Lovelace — who apparently had been treated for asthma and had an abnormal enlargement of the heart — says that while some might view the May 6 death as an accident, the “actions, or inactions, of the instructors and other individuals involved were excessive and directly contributed to the death.”

An unnamed Navy instructor in Coronado repeatedly dunked Lovelace under water during a five-minute period, despite instructors pointing the SEAL candidate out as struggling during the “combat” pool exercise, according to the county’s report released Wednesday.

The report acknowledges that Lovelace’s heart abnormality may have been a contributing factor.

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