KENTWOOD, Mich. – Despite CPR performed by a complete stranger, 18-month-old Shamon Gant-Hayes drowned Thursday after being pulled from a pond at a Kentwood park.
The Old Farm Park in Kentwood was a crowded place Thursday afternoon. Terry McCain, whose property backs up to the park, said that is pretty typical on a nice summer day.
His home overlooks the pond where the toddler drowned. Police say Shamon was at the park with his two siblings, ages seven and nine.
It was just after one in the afternoon when McCain said he heard the screams.
“I heard some noise going on,” he said. “I just thought it was kids playing in the park because they scream and holler a lot.”
Shamon and his family live at the Breton Apartments. The complex borders the park as well.
Starr Johnson is a neighbor of the Hayes family. She said that afternoon she saw the toddler’s sister come running from the park.
“I see a little girl just screaming in panic like, ‘Oh my gosh. My brother. My brother. I think he is lost or he’s dead.'” Johnson said.
According to police, the little boy’s siblings lost sight of Shamon for nearly half-an-hour. Witnesses tells us the one-and-a-half-year-old was playing by the water’s edge when he slipped in. Police found his wagon by the shoreline and his pacifier was in the pond.
A city employee working at the park went into the pond in search of the boy.
“He felt him with his legs because the water was waist-high,” said McCain.
Once Shamon was on shore, another person gave him CPR until paramedics came along.
Police said the child’s mother came to the park and rode with Shamon to the hospital where he died.
McCain said this same pond nearly took the life of another toddler playing by the water on Wednesday.
“All of the sudden I noticed this little boy, a smaller one was overly excited and started stumbling into the water and went in head first towards me,” McCain said.
In that case McCain was able to get the siblings attention who rescued the child from the water. Parents say the accidental drowning serves as a sobering reminder.
“You have to be there,” said Johnson. “It only takes a second, a blink of an eye. It’s sad.”
Police say the death remains under investigation.