The man whose beating sparked the 1992 L.A. riots was up late with his fiancée last night. Before she knew it, police told Christine Pelisek, King was in the deep end.
Late Saturday night, Rodney King—the man whose brutal beating at the hands of police officers touched off the notorious L.A. riots of 1992—was up talking with his fiancée, according to the Rialto, Calif., police department. Officers said the couple reportedly stayed up late often relaxing on their patio.
A few minutes after the couple last spoke, Capt. Randy De Anda tells The Daily Beast, Cynthia Kelley heard a splash and went outside to see what happened. She found King at the bottom of their pool.
Kelley tried to save him, she told police, but her fiance was in the deep end, and she’s not a good swimmer. She called 911; officers arrived and jumped into the pool fully clothed. But when they pulled King out, he was unresponsive.
According to De Anda, one of the officers reported no obvious signs of trauma on his face or body. "There were no signs of any altercation, and we have no indication that there was an argument or fighting [between the couple]," De Anda told The Daily Beast.
“I don’t know if he fell or hit his head,” he continued, adding that King was an avid swimmer. “We don’t know if he had a heart attack or jumped into the pool in the dark and hit his head. There was no blood at the scene or anything to indicate trauma.” An autoposy is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Monday morning.
Some news reports state that King was found nude, but De Anda wouldn’t confirm. However, he did refute other reports that screams and sobs were heard from the King household earlier that evening.
Kelley "was very distraught” after King was pulled out of the pool, De Anda said. “She didn’t go with him to the hospital. When I talked to her she was in her nightclothes."
Sgt. Richard Royce, also with the Rialto police department, said they were investigating whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in King’s death.
"That is what [we] are looking at,” he said.