SAN DIEGO – A witness who saw the tragic fall over the weekend that killed a woman and child at Petco Park said the woman appeared to lose her balance after jumping up on a bench near the railing on the third level of the stadium.
The 40-year-old mother and her 2-year-old son died Saturday prior to the Padres game against the Atlanta Braves after falling nearly six stories from the baseball concourse dining area. Neither victim has been publicly identified other than that they were both San Diego residents and San Diego police said the deaths “appeared to be suspicious.”
The witness — the mother of UT Community Press reporter Karen Billing — told FOX 5 in a statement both victims and a man were seated at the table next to her. They’d crossed paths with the family before sitting down and were memorable because they had a dog with them, the witness said.
She said the man was standing with the woman near the railing as the woman “started jumping on the bench of the table closest to the railing, holding the baby in her arms.”
“She seemed happy—laughing,” the witness said. “She lost her balance and fell off the bench. I remarked to my son, ‘Oh my gosh she almost fell.'”
Between 30 seconds to a minute later, the eyewitness said the woman, who was facing the man, then jumped back on the bench with the child.
“I remember saying ‘I can’t believe she’s doing that again,'” she said, “and then she was gone.”
It was at that point where the woman lost her balance and fell over the edge. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department initially reported that the woman and child fell from a pedestrian bridge, but San Diego police later confirmed that it happened at the baseball stadium.
According to the woman who witnessed it, “it was almost like she rolled over the railing.” What followed, she said, were not screams, but an eerie silence followed by the sound of them hitting the ground on the sidewalk below.
“My son said that we should get out of there so we left the area and went to our seats,” she said. “When my daughter saw the police had gathered in the area, I went back to give them my statement.”
The Padres released a statement Sunday noting the organization was “deeply saddened by the loss of life at Petco Park.” A makeshift memorial was erected over the weekend with flowers and candles at the location where the two fell onto Tony Gwynn Drive.
Speaking to FOX 5 on Monday, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria called the incident “horrifically tragic.” He noted there were “a lot of unusual circumstances around the case” that continue to be investigated.
“There were several witnesses — unfortunately no cameras — but several witnesses who were there who were clearly traumatized,” Gloria said. “This is on top, obviously, of the trauma of the loss of the mother and her child. These are very tragic things. This is not why people go to Petco Park. They go to have a day of enjoyment, to enjoy seeing our incredible Padres.
“That wasn’t what people experienced on Saturday. It’s very tragic.”
Anyone with additional information about the incident was asked to call San Diego police at 619-531-2293.