The father of a young child dramatically rescued from a Paris balcony was out playing Pokemon Go when the incident happened.
Video of the four-year-old’s rescue went viral on Monday after young Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama climbed four floors on the outside of an apartment building to save the dangling child.
In an interview with CNN-affiliate BFM TV Monday, French prosecutor Francois Molins said the child’s father had gone out shopping and then begun to play Pokemon Go once he left the shop.
According to Molins, the father, who now faces up to two years in prison for abandoning his parental responsibilities, is devastated by the consequences of his actions.
The four-year-old was being looked after by his father in Paris while his mother was living on Reunion Island, Molins said.
The child’s rescuer, 22-year-old Gassama, was offered French citizenship and a job by the Paris fire brigade following his dramatic rescue.
In the video, cheers broke out when the young migrant reached the dangling child and pulled him over the balcony before Parisian emergency services could arrive.
French President Emmanuel Macron met with Gassama in the Elysee Palace on Monday where he presented the young man with a certificate and a gold medal for performing an act of courage and determination.
Avec M. GASSAMA qui a sauvé samedi la vie d’un enfant en escaladant 4 étages à mains nues. Je lui ai annoncé qu’en reconnaissance de cet acte héroïque il allait être régularisé dans les plus brefs délais, et que la brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris était prête à l’accueillir. Je l’ai également invité à déposer une demande de naturalisation. Car la France est une volonté, et M. GASSAMA a démontré avec engagement qu’il l’avait ! – With Mr Gassama who saved a child’s life on Saturday by climbing 4 floors with his bare hands. I told him that in recognition of his heroic act he would have his papers in order as quickly as possible and that the Paris fire brigade would be keen to welcome him to their ranks. I also invited him to submit a naturalization request because France is built on desire and Mr Gassama’s commitment clearly showed that he has that desire!
“I didn’t think about it, I climbed up and God helped me,” Gassama told Macron.
The Malian migrant told BFM-TV in an interview that he had been in the neighborhood to watch a football match when he saw the crowd gathering.
“I like children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt in front of me. I ran and I looked for solutions to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to the balcony,” he said.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on her official Twitter Sunday she had called Gassama to thank him for his act of bravery.
“He explained to me that he arrived from Mali a few months ago with the dream of making a life for himself here. I replied that his heroic act is an example for all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France,” she posted to Twitter.