Rodney King: Details emerge about his death in swimming pool
Phil Willon in Rialto and Kate Mather (Los Angeles Times) | June 17, 2012
Details began to emerge Sunday about the death of Rodney King, a key figure in the 1992 Los Angeles riots. He was 47 and died at his Rialto home.
King’s fiancée called 911 about 5:25 a.m. and said she found King at the bottom of his pool, Sgt. Paul Stella said.
A short time earlier, Cynthia Kelley had talked to King, who was outside, through a sliding-glass door, said Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda. She then heard a splash and ran out, DeAnda said. She saw King at the bottom of the pool at the deep end, he said.
Kelley is “not a great swimmer,” DeAnda said, explaining why she did not jump in. Police arrived moments later and an officer jumped in the pool and pulled King’s body onto the deck.
“There were no signs of life,” DeAnda said.
The officers attempted CPR, which was continued when paramedics arrived, he said. King was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m., he said.
Next-door neighbor Sandra Gardea, 31, said she heard commotion in King’s backyard early Sunday morning. Gardea said about 3 or 3:30 a.m. she heard someone sobbing.
“It just sounded like someone was really sad,” she said. “There was a lot of moaning and crying. Another person was trying to console that person.”
King became a symbol for police brutality and the troubled relations between the LAPD and minority residents. He was eventually awarded a $3.8-million settlement, but the money and fame brought him little solace. He had repeated run-ins with the law and as of April said he was broke.
“I sometimes feel like I’m caught in a vise. Some people feel like I’m some kind of hero,” he told The Times earlier this year. “Others hate me. They say I deserved it. Other people, I can hear them mocking me for when I called for an end to the destruction, like I’m a fool for believing in peace.”
Tags: L.A. riots, rodney king