Tempe Town Lake drowning victim identified


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 6:33 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 1:39 PM

Map: Tempe Town Lake

View larger map

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Investigators have identified the man whose body was pulled from Tempe Town Lake early Monday morning.

He is Christopher Robin Gonzales, 34.

Detectives are still working on details of this incident, as the investigation is on-going.

A witness called 911 at about 3 a.m. to report somebody swimming in the lake. The witness said the man appeared to be struggling.

That witness dove in to try and help the man. A Tempe police officer also jumped into water to try to save him. Neither one was able to get to Gonzales.

The Tempe Fire Department's dive team was called in to recover the body. A single diver was sent in and was able find the man within minutes of suiting up.

The diver who pulled the man's body out of the water said he was wearing only a T-shirt.

"The victim appeared to be laying face down," Capt. Matt Burns of the Tempe Fire Department said. "I found his foot, and when I was doing a search pattern -- we do a sweeping pattern with our hands -- I found his foot. Other than that, I felt his shirt and pulled him up."

Investigators are not sure if the victim, described only as a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, was wearing pants when he went into the water.

Police believe Gonzales was swimming alone. It's not clear why he was swimming in Tempe Town Lake by himself at 3 a.m.

The medical examiner will determine if Gonzales was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he died.

Investigators are trying to piece together the hours before Gonzales was spotted in the lake.

At this point, investigators are calling this incident an accidental drowning.