2011-08-05 / Top Stories

Disturbed Man Drowns

By Howard Schwach

Ronald Paris Ronald Paris A mentally ill Rockaway man fell from a jetty to his death in the Atlantic Ocean in the East Rockaway Inlet, police say.

The 52-year-old man, identified by police sources as Ronald Paris, died after he was pulled from ocean waters behind his home at 711 Seagirt Avenue.

Paris apparently fell from a jetty behind his home on Seagirt Avenue near Beach 8 Street at about 2:40 p.m., witnesses said.

Lifeguards and boaters rushed to help Paris, who was struggling to stay afloat in the choppy water, cops and witnesses said.

“He was just flapping around in the water, and then he just stopped,” Mark Tria, 31, who was snorkeling nearby, told The Daily News. “He was floating facedown.” Paris, who suffered from schizophrenia and lived with his elderly parents, was pulled from the water by a boater and then taken to shore. He was transported by ambulance to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he later died.

Relatives told The Wave that Paris had returned to Rockaway in February after he went missing in 2008. He had sneaked out of his home and was later found in a mental health facility in Florida, one relative said.

His tragic death appears to be a drowning, according to police. It follows a recent spate of incidents of bodies being pulled from city waters under mysterious circumstances.

On July 27, the fully-clothed body of a still-unidentified man was found floating in the surf on Beach 117 Street. According to the city’s medical examiner, an autopsy was performed, but the findings are still “pending investigation.”

On Sunday, the body of a man – described only as being in his 50s – was found floating in Jamaica Bay, off the North Channel Bridge that links Howard Beach to Broad Channel, police said. According to published sources, the man had been shot in the head. His death was later ruled a suicide, sources say.

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