Lawrence Lake victim identified

by Larry Lemmons
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas -The Amarillo Police have identified Monday the young man who drowned in Lawrence Lake Friday.

14 Year Old Zachery Garza of Amarillo is the drowning victim who died after witnesses say they saw him struggling in the water.  Police divers found Garza's body after a three hour search in the Lake.

It's not known why Garza was in the area.  An investigation is ongoing.

Lawrence Lake is a dangerous storm drainage area with severe drop offs.  That's what it is officially.  Unofficially it's also a trash dump. The water is filthy and the shore is treacherous.

It's also surprisingly easy to get down to the water if one were so inclined.

The manager of the Pepper Tree Terrace apartments, which is next to the lake, says he has seen kids near the water. Police say no one should be there.

Amarillo Police Department's Corporal Jerry Neufeld says, "Once you get into the water it can have a sudden drop off. I mean it can be a couple of feet deep, then all of a sudden be 10 to 12 feet deep. If you cannot swim, this is not where you need to be. You don't need to be there anyway but it's not a place to explore."

The City has no way to keep people out other than "no trespassing signs."

Some businesses around the area have constructed fences.  Perry Bombaywala, General Manager of the Baymont Inn & Suites says, "Guests will feel safe to stay at the property and it's like, you know, I don't want any guest behind the fence."

But contractors we talked to say a fence around the totality of the lake could run in the neighborhood of one-hundred thousand dollars.

The City says it would be impractical to put a fence around it.