Somber farewell to slain sailor

July 10, 2009 8:37:40 PM PDT
There was a somber farewell Friday to a local sailor who was murdered at a Marine base in San Diego. His family suspects August Provost was murdered simply because he was gay. Provost was killed late last month at Camp Pendleton. The Navy doesn't think it was a hate crime.

As members of the military stood in attention, Provost's grieving family members were lead into the church on this, his final goodbye.

"A very happy person, lit up the room every time he came in," recalled Bianca Guillory, a cousin of Provist. "Humorous, a very good person."

Provost, a loadmaster in the Navy, was stationed at Camp Pendleton. His superiors on Friday called him a man committed to his job at no fail.

"What I can tell you about Seaman Provost was he was an outstanding sailor," said Navy Commanding Officer Captain Ed Harrington

But on June 30, Provost was found murdered inside a guard shack. And on Friday came the shocking news. The suspect is someone he likely knew.

"The suspect is military," said Captain Harrington. "One of my sailors."

The murder has sparked outrage by civil rights groups. Many held their own vigil in San Diego Friday, concerned the 28-year-old was killed because of his sexual orientation. It's a frustration echoed by family and friends.

"It's horrible," said Guillory. They're still human. They still have feelings and emotions just like everybody else."

"I have a son. I have a daughter," said family friend Carolyn Hethridge. "That could be my child that joined the military and now lost his life."

Military officials say they do not believe the murder was a hate crime. Nonetheless, an investigation continues, all to the agony of his family, who struggle with one very personal loss.

"I'm going to remember him as the loving young man that he always was to me," said family friend Lawanda Minneweather. "That's the way he was to me and that's way I'll remember him."

A military spokesperson on Friday told us they are not ruling out any motives. As for a timeline on how long this investigation will take, none was given.

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