Tributes to mother and 2-year-old boy who died falling from Petco Park after ‘jumping’ on a table

Investigators are treating the death as ‘suspicious’ and homicide detectives are involved

Jade Bremner
Thursday 30 September 2021 13:57
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A woman and her two-year-old son fell to their death from a balcony at the Padres’ Petco Park baseball stadium in San Diego on Saturday.

Tributes have poured in on social media for Raquel Wilkins, 40, and her infant son Denzel Browning-Wilkins who were on the third level concourse on the west side of the stadium, adjacent to Tony Gwynn Way sidewalk when they fell to the ground.

Wilkins has left behind her fiancé, the father of the child killed, who was in the stadium at the time of the fall. The couple had gotten engaged the same day, with Wilkins announcing her engagement on Facebook hours before she and her son died.

Investigators are treating the death as “suspicious” with homicide detectives involved “out of an abundance of caution”. Evidence is being gathered and witnesses are being interviewed.

One witness claims she saw the mother had a close call while jumping on a picnic table bench moments before the fall. “She seemed happy, laughing,” a witness, who did not want to be identified, told NBC 7. “The man was standing next to the rail, and the woman stood up on the table’s bench with the boy in her arms and started jumping.

“She lost her balance and fell off the bench. I remarked to my son, ‘Oh my gosh she almost fell,’” said the witness.

“I’ve been fully briefed by our police department on the day of and in the days since,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said to Fox 5. “It’s horrifically tragic. There are a lot of unusual circumstances around the case that we continue to investigate. It is suspicious …

“There were several witnesses – unfortunately no cameras – but several witnesses who were there who were clearly traumatised.”

The mayor went on to suggest that mental health issues could be part of the picture.

We have a mental health crisis that we don’t talk nearly enough about, and Covid has exacerbated that greatly,” Mayor Gloria said. “I hope that folks who find themselves in this position – and there is no shame in admitting that you’re having challenges – to avail themselves to the many services that are out there. You are not alone in this regard.”

He later apologised after the family’s lawyer later hit out at his initial statement, commenting that it was reckless to speculate on the cause of the fall.

Condolences have come in on social media and from the Padres baseball team who are “deeply saddened by the loss of life” they said in a statement.

“I’m just sitting in my seat crying. Wtf even matters right now on the field knowing what went down here. If anyone is at Petco and needs a hug I’m down. This is beyond devastating,” wrote one fan on Twitter, who presumably witnessed the ordeal.

“What a nightmare for this family. May peace find the surviving family and RIP to the mom and daughter,” wrote one Twitter user.

The Independent has contacted San Diego Police for further comment.

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