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Rodney King spoke to fiancee just before she found him, police say

June 17, 2012 | 11:06 am

M5rzsopdRodney King had spoken to his fiancee shortly before she found him at the bottom of his swimming pool at his home in Rialto, police said.

Cynthia Kelley talked to King, who was outside, through a sliding glass door at the house in the 1000 block of East Jackson Street, said Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda.

A short time later she heard a splash and ran out, DeAnda said. She saw King at the bottom of the pool at the deep end, he said.

PHOTOS: Rodney King | 1965- 2012

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.

VIDEOS: Rodney King

King was known to be a good swimmer and there were no indications he hit his head on the poolside or suffered any other trauma, DeAnda said. There were also no indications that alcohol or drugs were a factor, although that will not be determined until the coroner completes an autopsy and toxicology tests.

There were no outward signs of alcohol consumption or drug paraphernalia around the pool, he said.

“It’s being investigated as an accidental drowning,“ DeAnda said of King’s death. “There’s no sign of foul play, and no sign of trauma to the body.”

King and a friend had been poolside Saturday afternoon and into the evening, DeAnda said. Kelley talked to him last night before she went to bed, he said.

On Sunday morning, King and Kelley talked just before the incident, he said. A short time later she heard the splash and ran out.

Kelley was the only person home at the time, DeAnda said. King’s friend had gone home earlier.

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Next door neighbor Sandra Gardea, 31, said she heard what appeared to be a small gathering in King’s backyard early Sunday morning. She said it grew loud enough for others to complain.

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,” Gardea said. “Another person was trying to console that person.”

She said it was several hours later when she heard a splash, and that’s when police and paramedics arrived.

Gardea said King rarely had gatherings. She described him as a peaceful man who she knew only well enough to wave hello to.

But she said there had never been any problems with parties at King’s house and that he was usually pretty quiet.

Neighbor Bob Carlberg, 53, who lives two doors away, said he also heard what he described as a small party most of the night in King’s backyard. He said he heard other neighbors screaming for them to be quiet.

But Carlberg said that overall King was a great neighbor, very private.

"He’s one of the best neighbors in the neighborhood. He did get into trouble. But that was Rodney,” Carlberg said.

A man who identified himself as King's cousin walked by the house Sunday morning.

Cory Hudson, who lives just a few blocks away, said King often enjoyed swimming "at all hours of the night."

"I turned on the news and I heard. Man, it's just devastating," Hudson said, adding the he didn't know any details about the incident.

"It's just sad. I feel bad for all the family members. It's been rough. I mean, he was just getting his life together."

DeAnda said the Rialto police chief contacted Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck on Sunday morning and informed him of king’s death.


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-- Phil Willon in Rialto

Photo: Investigators from the Rialto police department stand outside the home of Rodney King who was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday in Railto. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times