ME: Death of man at public pool ruled accidental

Damon Smith-Phillips
An undated courtesy photo of Damon Smith-Phillips.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The drowning of a 21-year-old man in a closed Grand Rapids public pool has been ruled as an accident, the medical examiner says.

The medical examiner told 24 Hour News 8 that Damon Smith-Phillips died from asphyxiation by drowning.

Police said Smith-Phillips and others jumped the fence at Richmond Park pool on the city’s northwest side Tuesday morning.

Richmond Pool
Richmond Pool was closed after a man drowned early Tuesday. (Aug. 22, 2017)

Investigators say Smith-Phillips didn’t know how to swim and was unable to get out of the pool. But the victim’s father, David Smith, told 24 Hour News 8 that his son could swim.

GRPD said it took some time for authorities to respond because none of the men had cellphones to call for help. When officers arrived, they dove into the pool, pulled Smith-Phillips out and performed CPR.

The pool at Richmond Park has been reopened to the public, the Parks and Recreation Department said Wednesday.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.