Posted: May 7, 2013 1:49:05 PM PDT
Bellingham Police today are continuing an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a young man at Whatcom Falls Park last night (May 6, 2013), and have identified the victim as 16-year-old Daniel Santiago Guerrero.
Bellingham Police and Fire departments responded to Whatcom Falls Park at 8:46 p.m. Monday, May 6 2013, in response to a report of a teenage boy who witnesses say jumped into the water and was swept downstream. Upon arrival of emergency personnel it was learned the boy had jumped in the water and disappeared. An off-duty Parks and Recreation Department employee* who also volunteers for the Fire Department was on scene and in the water looking for the boy. He did find him but could not pull him out due to the swiftness of the water. He eventually was assisted by a firefighter and the boy was pulled from the water. Paramedics immediately began life saving measures and transported him to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. Later it was learned that Guerrero did not survive.
Bellingham Police released the name of the boy today after the family was notified. According to witness accounts, Guerrero, 16, had been in the park with six friends. Some of the friends had jumped into Whatcom Creek and were in the water. When Daniel jumped in he disappeared, at which time his friends called 9-1-1. The location where the youths were playing in the water was upstream from the concrete bridge in the park near the fish hatchery.
Police are conducting an investigation at this time. A cause of death has not been determined. The Whatcom County Medical Examiner has informed Bellingham Police that he likely will complete an autopsy on Wednesday to determine the manner and cause of death.
"We were sad to learn of the tragic fatality at Whatcom Falls Park last night. An off-duty parks employee, police officers, firefighters and others on the scene did all they could at the time to save him,” Bellingham Parks and Recreation Director James King said. “Today, we are all working to determine what exactly happened and we are still piecing together the details. In the meantime, we offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
*Early reports noted that a “parks employee” helped on the scene Monday night. The individual who helped was an off-duty Parks and Recreation Department employee who also is a volunteer photographer with the Bellingham Fire Department.
Lt. Rick Sucee, Bellingham Police Department, (360) 815-1696
James King, Parks and Recreation Director, (360) 778-7000