sailor murdered at Camp Pendleton
by Shaun Knittel
News Staff Writer
The body of August Provost, a
29-year-old Gay sailor, was found at Marine Corps Camp
Pendleton base in Southern California about 3:30 a.m.
June 30. Provost had been standing watch as a sentry at
a compound on the base when he was murdered. Initial
indications are that Provost was shot and his body
In a late afternoon press conference, Navy officials
said they would conduct a thorough investigation into
the murder. However, they said there was no evidence the
killing was a hate crime.
“Preliminarily it appears Seaman Provost suffered
gunshot wounds, and it appears that someone attempted to
destroy evidence by lighting a fire to Seaman Provost’s
assigned place of duty,” Navy Captain Matt Brown, a
spokesperson for Navy Region Southwest in San Diego,
California told SGN during a July 6 phone interview.
According to Brown, investigators have linked a sailor
to the crime through both physical evidence and his own
statement. He said the sailor has been taken into
custody and is cooperating with the investigation. No
information has been released about a possible motive
and no charges have been filed.
Another sailor initially questioned July 1 as a “person
of interest” has been released.
“Based on the information that we’ve been able to come
up with there is nothing that suggests this is a hate
crime, gang related, or a terrorist act. But, we will
address any possible motivation as part of the
investigation as we continue to thoroughly examine the
many leads and facts in this case,” Brown told SGN.
Brown said the investigation is a very complex and
detailed one and that the Navy Criminal Investigation
Service (NCIS) are not ruling anything out, but right
now there is no information to suggest Provost was
murdered because he was Gay.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista), chairman of the House
Veterans Affairs Committee, said July 1 he wanted a
complete investigation of circumstances surrounding the
murder. He is asking for investigators to determine if
the killing was a hate crime.
Gay leaders in San Diego had asked Filner to intervene
based on concerns brought to their attention by
Provost’s family. According to chairman of the San Diego
Human Relations Commission Nicole Murray-Ramirez,
Provost’s family said other personnel on the base had
harassed the sailor.
“We respect the military, but we want to ensure that
there is full disclosure, to see if this was a hate
crime,” said Murray-Ramirez. “A member of our community
has been killed.”
It has been widely speculated that Provost told members
of his family that he had been harassed but could not
seek help within the Navy due to “Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell”, a Department of Defense policy that prevents Gays
from serving openly. Brown said that although the public
debate over DADT is “an important one” investigators
have not been able to link the sailor’s sexuality to the
crime. In fact, investigators have called Provosts’
death a random act unrelated to his sexuality.
Brown told SGN, “There is, unfortunately, a lot of bad
information circulating in the press and on the
“Provost did suffer gunshot wounds and a fire had been
set,” Brown said, but added, “He was not bound, he was
not gagged, and he was not mutilated..”
The official said the Navy is working closely with the
slain sailors’ family as well as monitoring the impact
Provost’s murder has had on his unit. He said Provost
was popular with a lot of the sailors and was well
liked. His commanding officer said he was a “bright star
for the command.”
“Seamen Provost was an outstanding sailor looking
forward to a bright future,” said Brown. “He was also a
son, a friend and a shipmate, and all of us share grief
and this sense of loss. He will most surely be missed by
all who loved and cared for him, and by those who served
The family plans to hold funeral services July 10 in
Houston. Brown said Navy representation would be present
at the service.