Last year, on September 25th, the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves met at Petco Park. Thousands of baseball fans filed into the arena to see the game. However, before the teams could take the field, tragedy struck. A mother and her child fell from the third-floor concourse and landed on the sidewalk below. They died instantly. Since then, local authorities have been investigating the death at Petco Park.
Earlier today, the Associated Press reported that San Diego authorities have finally made a ruling on the deaths at Petco Park. They claim that 40-year-old Raquel Wilkins committed suicide with her son, Denzel Browning-Wilkins in her arms. Authorities have classified their deaths as murder-suicide.
Yesterday, the San Diego Police Department issued a statement on the deaths at Petco Park. “The detectives conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included dozens of interviews, reviewing available video footage, and collecting background information,” according to the statement. Additionally, they say that they made the determination after studying the medical examiner’s findings.
However, Dan Gilleon, an attorney for the Wilkins family disputed these findings. He maintains that the deaths at Petco Park were nothing more than a tragic accident. In his opinion, the City of San Diego hopes to use these findings as a shield against any litigation that the family could level at them.
In a text to the Associated Press, Gilleon said, “The city doesn’t want to explain why it concluded that a young mother would kill her only child at an event where witnesses said she was happy. To me, the city is acting like any other defendant in a lawsuit: blame the victim, especially if they are not able to defend themselves.”
A Witness Statement About the Deaths at Petco Park
Shortly after the deaths of Raquel and Denzel Wilkins, an unnamed witness came forward to talk about the moments leading up to the tragic incident. According to that witness, Raquel Wilkins was jumping on a picnic table while holding her child.
After a few minutes of doing this, the 40-year-old mother “lost her balance and fell off the bench,” according to the witness. At that point, the witness feared that the mother and her child were in danger of falling over the edge.
Less than a minute later, she began jumping on the bench again. The witness recalled thinking “I can’t believe she’s doing that again.” Then, things took a tragic turn. From the vantage point of the witness, the fall that led to two deaths at Petco Park looked like an accident. “…it was almost like she rolled over the railing.”
At the end of the day, whether San Diego authorities or the family’s attorney is correct, one fact remains. Two lives were lost that day and left a family in mourning.