Emotional, angry, and hurt. Don Wilkins is the father of a woman who fell to her death while holding her toddler son in her arms at Petco Park last September.
The victims’ father and grandfather spoke Thursday to NBC 7, the day after the San Diego Police Department determined the deaths were a homicide-suicide.
“I know my daughter wouldn’t commit suicide, I know it. I know it. She was a loving mother," said Don Wilkins, who lives in Florida.
His daughter, Raquel Wilkins, 40, was his best friend. He said they Skyped every Sunday. He said his 2-year-old grandson, Denzel Browning-Wilkins was the love of her life.
“There was no way she would do this and especially to Denzel, even if you want to do it yourself, you would never do it to Denzel. Never. You’ve never seen a 2-year-old smiling as much as him, never, sorry," he said.
On Sept. 25, just before the start of a Padres game, the mother and son fell from the third level of the ballpark to the sidewalk below. They were dining at the concession area on the concourse level. A witness told NBC 7 at the time that the mother was holding her son while jumping on a picnic table located near a railing.
The San Diego Police Department thought the deaths suspicious and started an investigation. Police now have determined it was a homicide-suicide.
When making the announcement yesterday SDPD issued the following statement:
"The 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. In consultation with the San Diego County Medical Examiner, Raquel Wilkins' death has been classified as a suicide and Denzel Browning-Wilkins’ death has been classified as a homicide."
The Padres released the following statement:
“In light of today’s statement from the San Diego Police Department we want to reiterate our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of those involved in this tragedy.”
“That's horrible, and without giving me a reason,” said Wilkins, who said the police left him out of the loop as to how they came to their conclusion. He said he believes the city is covering up so it cannot be held liable for what happened at the park, owned in part by the city. He said the table and chairs were too close to the railing, and what happened was not intentional.
“I think she was fooling around on the benches and she fell… I really don’t know, I don’t know. Just I think it was a horrible horrific accident, I don’t know," he said.
Attorney Dan Gilleon is the attorney for Wilkins. Gilleon said they will be filing a wrongful death suit alleging the city and the Padres were negligent.
Wilkins said he is filing the suit to prevent other people from getting hurt in the future. But more than that he said, “I really don’t care about the money, I'm more interested that my daughter is not labeled the murderer. That's more important than money. That’s the truth."
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, or thoughts of suicide there is help available. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting "Home" to 741741.