UPDATED: Homeless Man Drowns Near City Dock
Witnesses said the man was drinking and stumbled into the river after an altercation.
Updated 2:48 p.m. Aug. 15: The victim in Tuesday's drowning has been identified as Michael McKinney, 43, no fixed address. Bledsoe said the incident is still under investigation "due to the disparity in the accounts given by various witnesses describing the last few minutes before McKinney went into the water."
A 43-year-old homeless man drowned in the Rappahannock River Tuesday afternoon near the city dock in Fredericksburg, police said today.
His name has not been released because family has not been contacted, said Fredericksburg police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe.
Bledsoe said a witness called police at about 1:30 p.m. to report that the man was trying to leave the city dock on a red scooter and there was concern because he had been drinking. When the first officers arrived, the victim was already in the river and another man in a brown shirt was in the river, too, grabbing a wall. Bledsoe said the area where both men were in the water is about eight feet deep.
"The officer called for the Fire Department to conduct a water rescue," she said. "While speaking with witnesses who were on the dock and to the man holding the wall, the officer was told there was a second man who was under water and hadn't been seen for a few minutes."
Fredericksburg Fire Department Deputy Chief Mike Jones said Stafford County units launched a boat and were able to rescue the man holding onto the wall. Jones said more fire and rescue personnel walked the shore line and found the body of the 43-year-old man at about 2 p.m.
Medics started CPR immediately and until he got to Mary Washington Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Jones said.
Robert Carter, a witness, said he saw the victim drinking on a bench at the city dock. Carter said he left to go eat lunch and when he returned he saw both men in the water.
Another witness said the victim was fighting with an older gentleman and the man in the brown shirt tried to break up the fight. The witness said the victim then went after the man in the brown shirt. The victim stumbled into the river and the man in the brown shirt jumped in, said the witness.
"He was drunk," said the witness about the victim. The name of the witness is not known because a city detective made him stop talking to the press.
Bledsoe said that there were witness reports of a possible altercation but that she didn't have any more details.
"Witnesses at the scene have reported that the victim was involved in some sort of fight with other individuals on the dock prior to going over the wall and into the river," she said. "Those witnesses are currently being interviewed. The man who was rescued from the water, a 62-year-old Fredericksburg resident, was not injured."
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