The family of a San Diego mother and toddler who fell to their deaths at Petco Park before Saturday's Padres game said they plan on filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The San Diego Police Department identified the mother and toddler Wednesday as Raquel Wilkins, 40, and Denzel Browning-Wilkins, 2.
Dan Gilleon, a prominent San Diego-area attorney hired by Wilkins' family, said the family plans on filing a wrongful death lawsuit. They aren't sure who will be named in the lawsuit because the investigation is ongoing, according to Gilleon.
The family believes the fall was a tragic accident that should never have happened.
“You know, this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen. People aren’t supposed to fall to their deaths from facilities like that," Gilleon told NBC 7 Wednesday.
“If you are a paying customer and you’re on commercial premises, and you are serving alcohol to somebody or you’ve sold them food, and you’ve put benches out there, the law is you’ve got a very heightened standard of care to go out there and protect them," Gilleon added. "So that’s what we want to look at.”
According to Gilleon, SDPD was initially investigating the fall as a murder-suicide.
"That's what they said at the scene," Gilleon said.
The investigation is ongoing and detectives are still gathering evidence and speaking with any possible witnesses. SDPD said the deaths appeared to be suspicious but hasn't provided any details about what led up to the fall.
"The Police Department understands the interest in this tragic event and the questions that have arisen. How and why this happened are questions on the mind of many, especially the investigators looking for answers in this heartbreaking case," SDPD said Wednesday.
A witness to the fall told NBC 7 she saw the mother, with the toddler in her arms, jumping on a picnic bench near a railing on the edge of the concourse. She said she saw the mother lose her balance and nearly fall over the wall, but didn't. Then, seconds later, the mother got back on the bench and started jumping again. She lost her balance a second time, the witness said, but this time she fell over.
SDPD has not confirmed this report from the witness.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
The Deadly Fall at Petco Park
SDPD Lt. Andra Brown said the mother and her son were at a concession area at the downtown San Diego ballpark at around 4 p.m. Saturday, just before the start of the San Diego Padres vs. Atlanta Braves game.
They were at a picnic table area close to the edge of the third-level concourse when, suddenly, they fell from over the protective wall and onto the sidewalk below. When officers arrived, they found the mother and child unresponsive on the sidewalk at 200 Tony Gwynn Way, Brown confirmed.
Emergency responders tried to revive them with CPR but due to their severe injuries, both the mother and toddler died at the scene.
The victims’ deaths appeared to be suspicious and, out of an abundance of caution, the San Diego Police Homicide Unit was called to the scene, Brown said.
"It’s far too early for us to have any information as to whether or not this is intentional or accidental," Brown said on Saturday.
"We are speaking to the father of the child, they are not married but we are speaking to him," the lieutenant added.
'We Are Deeply Saddened by the Loss of Life at Petco Park'
The San Diego Padres released a statement about the deadly incident at their home stadium.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life at Petco Park last evening," the club said in a press release Sunday. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of those involved."
"We will continue to refrain from comment on the nature of the incident as it is an ongoing investigation by the San Diego Police Department.”
San Diegan Brian Howell was at the ballpark on Saturday and said many of the fans who were there to watch the game weren't aware of what happened at Petco Park. Howell said police and stadium crews began keeping people away from the scene of the incident a little after it happened.
"They were just keeping us away from that area, we thought it was standard protocol but everyone along this side was keeping us out of that area," Howell said. "All we heard was that there might have been an unfortunate incident."