BOSTON (CBS) – A Malden man who police say pushed his friend into the Charles River Tuesday evening is facing charges Wednesday in that man’s death.
Lenny Quintero-Flores, 27, had his charges upgraded to manslaughter after State Police said Mitchell Harrison, 26, of Watertown passed away overnight at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Flores was ordered held on $25,000 bail Wednesday.
State Police said the two men had reportedly been drinking vodka on a dock near the Massachusetts Avenue bridge and were heavily intoxicated when Harrison, while either sleeping or passed out, was intentionally pushed into the water by Flores shortly before 5 p.m. Prosecutors said Flores admitted to drinking for 2-3 hours before the incident.
According to the police report, Flores told police he was not aware Harrison was sleeping or unconscious at the time.
As he was led into court for his arraignment Wednesday, Flores told reporters Harrison was his best friend, it was an accident, and that he was sorry for what had happened.
“I was just playing around, I pushed him in the river,” Flores said.
Lawyers for Flores said Wednesday that Flores and Harrison had been friends since middle school, and that Flores “certainly denies any ill will.”
According to the police report, Harrison had been underwater for about 10 minutes when officers arrived, and was submerged for about 30 minutes. After he was taken to Brigham and Women’s, a heartbeat was recovered, though he later died.
Witnesses told police they saw Flores push Harrison into the water using his legs, though they said they pleaded with Flores not to push him in.
Police said surveillance video from the area confirmed witnesses accounts.
Flores was arrested and first charged with assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. He was held overnight at the Leverett Circle Barracks, and initially held on $10,000 bail.
Flores was also ordered Wednesday to remain drug- and alcohol-free, and be subject to random screenings. He is scheduled to return to court July 22.
“This is a tragedy involving one of Lenny’s best friends. He had nothing against him,” defense attorney M. Barusch said outside of court.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports