Precieus Basulama looked at the shimmering surface and then threw a book at it. Several minutes later the 4-year-old was found face down in the community pool. Police are still trying to determine how the child gained entrance into the pool area.
On Monday, police released his name as well as the details surrounding his death. They are hoping to prevent another tragedy like what happened to Precieus.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m., firefighters and police received the call about the drowning at the Landmark at Bella Vista Apartment complex at 4015 Satellite Blvd. in unincorporated Duluth, according to Gwinnett County police.
Two officers arrived at approximately the same time and saw Precieus’s uncle performing CPR on the child on the deck of the pool, police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said. One officer jumped over the fence to help with CPR while the other officer retrieved the automated external defibrillator from his patrol car, Pihera said.
Firefighters responded and continued treatment before rushing the child to Gwinnett Medical Center in Duluth, she said. But all their efforts were too late. And investigators later learned how the child ended up in the pool.
They were told that Precieus was eating in the kitchen when he ran from his mother. She thought he had run to a bedroom, Pihera said. She called out to him, but he did not respond. She looked throughout the apartment. Fearing that he may have gotten outside, she asked her family members and the apartment complex manager to help her in trying to find him, Pihera said.
“While she was talking to the manager, she heard someone say that Precieus was in the water,” Pihera said. A teenager who lived in the complex had spotted the boy in the water. The child’s uncle, Taty Panka, was the first to begin CPR.
Surveillance footage of the pool showed that maintenance personnel were last seen leaving the pool at 3:54 p.m., Pihera said. At 4:03 p.m., the child was seen throwing a book into the pool. The uncle was seen pulling the child out of the water at 4:22 p.m.
According to the officer, all the gates to the pool were sealed with a chain. But a gate facing west was missing one of the bars, Pihera said.
“This tragic event has affected the family and the local community,” Pihera said. “Please teach your children to never swim alone. Teach your children about the dangers of a swimming pool and other bodies of water. Children tend to be drawn to water. If a child goes missing, check pools and bodies of water immediately.”