Press Release: Bloomington investigating death of Seminary Park camper

In a press release issued late Thursday afternoon, Bloomington’s police department announced that it is investigating the death of a 51-year-old man who was staying  at the Seminary Park encampment.

Seminary Park looking south along College Avenue on Dec. 22, 2020.

According to the news release, the officers responded to a call around 11:40 a.m., which was made by a passerby, who said several people at the park had asked them to call 911.

Officers and EMS staff attempted to resuscitate the man but were not successful, according to the release. The release says that others at the park had spoken to the man earlier in the morning and he seemed fine.

According to the news release, several people had tried the day before to get the man services and had offered him overnight accommodations but the man had refused and slept in the park.

BPD had checked on the man once during the evening hours of Dec. 23 and twice on the morning of Dec. 24th, but the man was sleeping and refused any assistance, according to the news release.

The news release says there were no signs of foul play or injuries to the man.

Wednesday evening temperatures started off in the low 50s with light to heavy rain at times. By 2 a.m. the temperature had dropped to under 40 F degrees and continued to drop, dipping under freezing by 5 a.m. The temperature continued to drop through the day on Thursday and had reached the low 20s by late afternoon

The city of Bloomington has said that if necessary, starting Jan. 11, it will use its statutory authority to clear the right-of-way area where some of those who are experiencing homelessness have been camping. People and their belongings had been removed two weeks earlier from inside the boundaries of the park. The city is asking nonprofit providers to help give the Seminary Park area campers alternative arrangements.