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Copyright 2017 Spokane Spokesman-Review

Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)


SAN DIEGO — The Navy will not pursue criminal charges in the drowning of a sailor who was repeatedly pushed underwater by an instructor during Navy SEAL basic training in California, authorities said Monday.

Cmdr. Liam Hulin, head of the Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command, found that no crime occurred during the training that killed Seaman James Derek Lovelace, a Navy statement said.

Hulin's conclusions came after his review of a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe into Lovelace's death 11 months ago during a pool exercise in Coronado, near San Diego.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Lovelace family," Hulin said in the statement. "No loss of life in training is an acceptable loss."

The San Diego County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide after finding Lovelace had been dunked at least twice by an instructor while struggling to tread water in full gear.

The autopsy also revealed Lovelace had an enlarged heart that contributed to his death. The medical examiner also found that Lovelace had an abnormal coronary artery that has been associated with sudden cardiac death, especially in athletes.

It's unclear from the autopsy report how much Lovelace's heart abnormalities contributed to his death.

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April 12, 2017


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