Rodney King, 47, had been drinking all day and smoking marijuana at his Rialto, California home in the hours before his death, according to his fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, who was a juror in King’s lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles in 1994.
Kelly said she went to bed at 2:00 a.m. and was awakened at approximately 5:00 a.m. by King screaming in the backyard, reports TMZ.
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According to sources, “he was naked and banging on the glass,” so she called out to him, “What’s wrong, Rodney?”
She left to get her phone — to call whom is unknown — and once her back was turned, she heard “a loud splash.” Kelly quickly ran over to the pool and saw King at the bottom of it. She called police at approximately 5:25 a.m. who upon arrival attempted to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m. at Arrowhead Regional Hospital, said Rialto, California police Lt. Dean Hardin.
According to King’s friend, Damon Feldman, he spoke to Rodney around 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. He was allegedly in a good mood, discussing his revitalized boxing career and an upcoming celebrity match-up against Jose Canseco that was to be announced during a June 29 press conference, reports TMZ.
“I am saddened by the death of Rodney King,” said Bernard Parks, a Los Angeles city councilman who served as LAPD chief from 1997 to 2002. “Although his beating will forever be thought of as one of the ugliest moments in the history of the city of Los Angeles and its police department, the victimization of Mr. King and the circumstances that followed created an atmosphere that allowed LAPD and the city to make historic disciplinary and community-based reforms that have made for a better police department and a better city as a whole.”
Police report that Kelly said King was an “avid swimmer” and that they did not see any sign of foul play or drug paraphernalia. According to CNN, his death is being treated as a drowning and an autopsy will be performed on his body by the The San Bernardino County coroner within 48 hours.