Petaluma Investigates Third Unrelated Death by Waterfront in Recent Weeks
PETALUMA – In a press release issued Sunday, November 23, from the Petaluma Police Department, it was reported that another death investigation was underway near the city’s waterfront.
A man was found deceased at approximately 7:30 am near a park bench at the waterfront by a citizen who had gone to the same location to fish. The area is adjacent to the Foundry Wharf business park.
There were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play, however an autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death. The man was identified as Leonard Neal Smith, a 63-year-old resident of Petaluma who is believed to have been homeless for the last month. There were no indications that Smith had been camping in the vicinity. The next of kin have been contacted by the Petaluma Police Department.
Records show that Smith had been arrested on a probation violation in May, and for DUI in October of 2013.
Just a day earlier on Saturday, November 22, police were called to Steamer Landing Park on Copeland Street at approximately 9:40 am for an unrelated death investigation. Witnesses said that they had seen a man park his car in the lot, turn on his emergency flashers, and place a note on his window. The then had placed a tarp on the ground in front of his vehicle.
Witnesses called 9-1-1 when they had heard a gunshot. Responding officers found a 78-year-old man wrapped in the tarp. They determined that the man had died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The note on the window said “Call Police.”
The park was closed for two hours while Petaluma PD and the Coroner’s Office conducted an investigation. Petaluma PD is not releasing the name of the deceased. The Coroner’s Office will notify next of kin and will respond to further inquiries.
Last month Petaluma PD had reported a death investigation when a body was found floating in the Petaluma River north of Payran Street on the evening of October 11 at approximately 11:40 pm. Officers and firefighters had responded to the scene but could not safely access and remove the body until morning.
On October 17 a subsequent press released identified the deceased as 57-year-old Michael Todd Coleman, a Petaluma transient. There were no signs of trauma or any evidence of a homicide. It was known that Coleman had pre-existing medical conditions that could have contributed to his death. Toxicology results were also expected to shed more light on the investigation.