The Navy confirmed that Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Mitchell-Sandor was found unresponsive on the USS George Washington on April 15, as WSNI reported. Medical personnel on board took care of the sailor and he was later pronounced dead after being taken into Riverside Regional Medical Center.. Local Virginia publication, The Daily Press, noted that he joined the Navy in August.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia found that Mitchell-Sandor had a fatal, self-inflicted injury, USNI reported.
“A spokeswoman from U.S. Fleet Forces Command would not confirm to USNI News any of the details from the medical examiner about the incident, citing several ongoing investigations into a string of suicides aboard the carrier,” according to the news outlet.
In conversations with the media outlet, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) spokesperson would not confirm whether the weapon was a military-issued weapon or confirm that Mitchell-Sandor was on duty at the time of his death.
Spokesperson Jeff Houston said in a statement:
NCIS is conducting an extensive investigation to discover the causes concerning the passing of MASR Xavier Mitchell-Sandor. This is how we respond to all medically unattended, non-combat deaths from Department of the Navy service members.
Mitchell-Sandor is the 3rd of the sailor onboard USS Geroge Washington to commit suicide in the last month, USNI noted, citing the medical examiner in the area.
On April 9th, Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mika'il Sharp took her own life by suicide. The next day, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natalie Huffman took her life, according to the medical examiner.
In a press release obtained by The Daily Press, the Naval Air Force Atlantic confirmed that seven servicemembers on the ship died in the past 12 months, and four died in 2021.
The statement also said:
The circumstances that led to the incidents differ and it's too early to draw conclusions, since certain incidents are still under review. The death of one seaman is a tragedy, and we will investigate the circumstances surrounding these incidents to ensure that we offer the proper assistance and resources for sailors on the sea as well as at the shipyards.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby also issued a statement about the sailors' deaths, but did not reveal the cause. WVEC reported:
Whatever the reason these sailors were killed, we don't want any sailors to be injured or hurt, or die, in any way, no matter the reason. However, I can assure that the Navy has taken this extremely seriously. They're also looking into what happened on the USS George Washington, trying to get a better understanding of it.
The ship is docked at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, and is in the final phases of a five-year maintenance program as per USNI.