Former WWE star missing after being 'swept out to sea' while swimming in LA

"When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea," police said.
Shad Gaspard at the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards last June
Shad Gaspard at the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards last JuneFrazer Harrison / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News
By Minyvonne Burke and David K. Li

Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard is missing after being swept out to sea while swimming with his son at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.

Gaspard, 39, was last seen on Sunday around 3:40 p.m. about 50 yards off shore, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a press release.

"When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea," police said. "He was last seen wearing black and gray shorts and has tattoos on his right shoulder and left chest."

The fire department said it received a call about two missing swimmers, one a 10-year-old boy. The child was found and did not require treatment at a hospital.

"LA County Lifeguard is leading the continuing search for the 2nd swimmer, reported to be the adult father of the 1st patient," the fire department said in a release.

A lifeguard raced about 100 yards into the water in hopes of pulling the pair to safety.

"He was going to try to rescue both," County Fire Department Lifeguard Chief Ken Haskett said. "But the father, in his last few words, said, 'Save my son.'"

Gaspard pushed his son to the lifeguard, before "he got pushed back down under a wave and that's the last he's been seen," according to Haskett.

After failing to find him on Sunday, rescuers with expertise in underwater operations used sonar to continue their desperate search on Monday. But Haskett told NBC News that hopes of finding the missing swimmer alive are fading by the moment.

"It's a very, very narrow chance of that happening," he told NBC News.

Gaspard's wife, Siliana Gaspard, posted an Instagram story on Monday asking for help in finding her husband. On Tuesday, she shared a post calling Gaspard a fighter with a "magical soul."

"We are hoping and praying for his safe return. As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad," she wrote in a statement.

Gaspard was part of the WWE team Cryme Tyme and, since he stopped wrestling, he has pursued an acting career, according to NBC Los Angeles. He appeared in the movies "Get Hard" and "Think Like A Man Too," and the television shows "Big Time Rush" and "Key and Peele," among others.

L.A. County lifeguards made 452 rescues this past weekend, well above a normal weekend, as swimmers and sun-worshippers hit the sand for the first time in weeks after being trapped inside by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.