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Drowning victim identified
Date published: 8/16/2012
The man who drowned Tuesday in the Rappahannock River has been identified as Michael McKenney, according to Fredericksburg police.
But what led up to the drowning of the 43-year-old man is still unclear, police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said.
Witnesses agreed that McKenney appeared intoxicated, and that punches were thrown, Bledsoe said.
Who punched whom and how McKenney got into the river at City Dock is what police are trying to decipher now.
"We have varied accounts of what happened before he ended up in the water. We're trying to sort through all of that," Bledsoe said.
At 1:30 p.m. Monday, bystanders called police to report that McKenney was drunk and was trying to leave the dock on Sophia Street on his red scooter.
When an officer arrived, McKenney was underwater and a 62-year-old man was clinging to the bulkhead wall.
Rescue crews were called, and quickly pulled the second man out of the water. By 2 p.m., divers and rescuers located McKenney's body, began CPR and transported him to Mary Washington Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The drowning is still an open investigation, Bledsoe said, as police piece together the stories from the seven or eight people interviewed.
Four people were close to the scuffle and somewhat involved, while a few more were within earshot or view, according to police.
"Everyone agrees some sort of fight took place," Bledsoe said. Reports are consistent that McKenney was drunk, and one person reported seeing him drinking.
Bledsoe said reports state that McKenney likely instigated the fight. But after that, some bystanders told police, he was pushed, while others said he fell into the water.
The second man in the water had tried to help McKenney, Bledsoe said.
The water in front of where the paddle-wheeler City of Fredericksburg moors is about 8 feet deep.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975