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Update: Young girl was present when man went off balcony

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 | 3:40 pm

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The man jumped from the tenth floor—believed to be either the balcony with the plant or the one above it—to a third floor mezzanine with a tennis court. (Photo Marshall Jones)

Update: 3:32 p.m.

By Marshall Jones

A man who fell to his death while dealing with police early this morning may have deliberately let go of the balcony rail he was holding onto, but police say it’s hard to know for certain.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Steve Holmes said an 11-year-old girl made a call to police to report a domestic dispute at the tenth floor apartment of the Sunset Waterfront building. The girl let a police officer in and told him the 31-year-old boyfriend of her 50-year-old mother was on the balcony.

“(The officers) asked him to come in and speak to them…. They had just stepped out into the balcony area. There was a difference in light inside and out and they didn’t see that (that the man was outside the railing) from within the apartment until they stepped outside.”

He said it wasn’t entirely clear what the man’s intentions were when he finally did move.

“Apparently one of the members saw him make some sort of a gesture like he was going to lift a foot,” he said. “Then at that point… he purposely turned away. It could be construed as he changed his mind.

“Keeping their distance, police asked the male to come back inside so they could speak. The male then looked at the police officers, turned away from them and purposely released his hold on to the railing, falling seven storeys before landing on a grassy area three stories from ground level,” he said.

Other police officers who arrived at the scene tried to tried to perform CPR until Ambulance paramedics arrived and took over. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He said the young girl called police because of a loud argument after 1 a.m that escalated to some physical violence, but the woman in the altercation had no injuries requiring medical attention. Holmes said it appears the two were drinking.

The man was not a resident of Kelowna for very long and may have come from Toronto or “out east.” He was not know to police, at least not in B.C.

“At this point, we have no evidence to speak of as to his state of mind from a historical or pathological perspective.”

The man’s girlfriend gave police no indication of whether or not he was suicidal. Victim services and counselling has been brought in to help the young, girl, her mother and the police officers who dealt with the man. Police did not take the man into custody or arrest him so it is not considered an in custody death.

The investigation into the matter now falls in the hands of the B.C. Coroner’s Service.

marshall@kelowna.com

Update: 1:16 p.m.

In an updated release posted late this morning on the B.C. RCMP’s website, Kelowna police offered a slightly different account of what led to a man falling to his death from a 10th-floor apartment balcony.

Cops apparently responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in the suite, and upon entry, were directed to a man standing outside the balcony’s railing.

Officers tried to talk the male back into the apartment, but he “released his hold” and plunged to a grassy area seven stories below. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An earlier press release did not mention that Mounties tried to talk the man into climbing back over the railing.

A press conference is set for 2:30 p.m. at which police are expected to release more details.

Posted: 9:14 a.m.

By Marshall Jones

Caroline Williamson woke up around 2:20 a.m, looked out the front window of her top floor apartment building and watched with shock at the neighbouring building on Sunset Drive—six police cars, two ambulances and what she assumed was a body under a blanket.

Police confirmed this morning that a man fell from a 10th floor balcony at the Sunset building onto a third floor plateau near tennis courts.

An RCMP media release this morning said they were called to the apartment around 1:39 a.m for a disturbance.

“The police officers opened the door leading on to the balcony and observed a male standing on the far side of the railing,” said Const. Andrew Waddell. “Upon seeing the police officers the male released his hold on the railing and fell to a grassed area situated at the 3rd floor level. The male did not survive the fall.”

Police gave no indication of what type of disturbance they were called to and no indication if it was a suicide. They didn’t speculate as to why he was on the balcony when they arrived or if it was an accident that he let go.

We expect more information later today.

Many residents of the building—including one man who lives on the same floor—had no indication that anything had happened when asked about it this morning. Williamson said she didn’t hear any siren either. She watched police officers comb the area including the tennis courts with search lights until the coroner’s van arrived around 3:30 a.m.

“I know the van,” she says. “Three people have died here recently. I started shaking in my boots because I thought there was more than one body. There’s been lots of drug busts around here lately.”

She said the Sunset building is know to be mainly renters who come and go.

Update: 9:04 a.m.

Official RCMP release

On March 23, 2010, at 01:39 AM Kelowna RCMP received a complaint of a disturbance within an apartment located in the 1100 hundred block of Sunset Drive, Kelowna, BC. Upon entering the 10th floor apartment the RCMP Contables determined a person of interest was on the balcony.

The police officers opened the door leading on to the balcony and observed a male standing on the far side of the railing. Upon seeing the police officers the male released his hold on the railing and fell to a grassed area situated at the 3rd floor level. The male did not survive the fall.

The name of the deceased male is not being released at this time pending occurrence investigation and notification of next of kin.

marshall@kelowna.com

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2 Responses to “Update: Young girl was present when man went off balcony”

  1. anon says:
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    Feel so sorry for the little girl in all this. Too young to have to deal with such things.

  2. boosco says:
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    Ditto, I also feel sorry for the girl as well as her mom. Alcohol is as bad as drugs.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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