FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A childhood friend of the Navy SEAL who was killed during a raid in Yemen spoke to Local 10 News Wednesday, saying that he was shocked to learn that Ryan Owens had died.
Owens and Drew Melville attended Forest Glen Middle School together in Coral Springs.
Melville said he had lost touch with Owens over the years, but news of his death certainly hit home.
"When I saw that picture of him, you know, that first picture that they kind of kept repeating of him, I was like, that's Ryan," Melville said. "I had thought about him through the years, because you kind of wonder what happened to people who you lose touch (with), and you know, it's kind of amazing to find out all the things he had accomplished."
Owens, 36, a married father of three, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since President Donald Trump took office.
His widow received a lengthy standing ovation Tuesday night when she was introduced at Trump's address to Congress.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer brushed aside criticism Wednesday that Trump used Carryn Owens as a prop, saying she accepted the invitation to the address and has the right to honor her husband's legacy.
Spicer said Trump called Carryn Owens on Jan. 30 and invited her and her three children to attend the speech.
The family visited the White House on Tuesday and met with Trump.
Spicer said the children ate lunch in the Navy-run cafeteria in the White House and toured the building. They did not attend Trump's speech.
While the raid has been controversial, Vice President Mike Pence said the data that Owens died helping to collect will "lead to the safety and security of the American people."
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