Police rule mother-son falling deaths at Petco Park suicide-homicide; family claims wrongful death

·2 min read

Police in San Diego have ruled the falling death of a mother and her 2-year-old son at Petco Park in September a homicide-suicide.

Raquel Wilkins, 40, and her son Denzel Browning-Wilkins fell six stories to their deaths from a Petco Park concourse prior to a Sept. 25 game between the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves. Per the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Diego Police Department ruled the deaths "suspicious" at the time and launched an investigation that concluded that Wilkins intentionally took her own life and her son's with the fall.

“Raquel Wilkins’ death has been classified a suicide and Denzel Browning-Wilkins’ death has been classified a homicide,” SDPD homicide Lt. Andra Brown said, per a statement released on Wednesday.

Per Brown, "detectives conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation that included dozens of interviews, reviewing of available video footage, and collecting background information to determine what led to the deaths.”

Family's attorney disputes police ruling

Dan Gilleon, an attorney representing Wilkins' parents and sisters, disputes the police conclusion and accuses San Diego of shirking liability in the deaths at ballpark, which is majority owned by the city (70%) alongside the Padres (30%).

“The city of San Diego owns that ballpark, it is legally responsible, assuming that what caused her to fall was anything but her intent,” Gilleon said Wednesday, per the Union Tribune. “The only way the city is not at fault is if she intended to kill herself and her baby.”

Gilleon said that he's preparing to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Petco Park and the city of San Diego. The Padres didn't publicly address the police ruling at the time it was announced Wednesday afternoon.

SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 20: An aerial view of Petco Park stadium on March 20, 2020 in San Diego, California. Major League Baseball has postponed the beginning of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Petco Park (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)