Was a gay, Black sailor murdered because of his race or sexual orientation? That’s what the U.S. Navy is trying to determine.
Military officials say they have launched a full investigation into the death of Navy Seaman August Provost III, who was found shot to death, execution-style, while standing duty at a guard station at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, near San Diego. Authorities say he was shot three times, his hands and feet bound, his mouth gagged, and body burned.
"He went to the Navy to serve and protect,” says Provost's aunt Rose Roy, who believes her son’s murder is a hate crime. "That phrase is just stupid because it tells them they have no one to speak to."
Investigators have targeted a “person of interest,” but have not yet concluded whether race or sexual preference played a role in his death, CBS News reports.
“What I can tell you, unequivocally at this point, based on the preliminary information that we have, is that regardless of the person standing watch in that sentry station, this crime would have most likely been carried out in the same way,” said former Navy Capt. Matt Brown. “In other words, another sailor could have been on that post and would have been the victim of this crime."
A vigil has been planned for Friday.