Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Father of Paris balcony rescue boy was ‘playing Pokemon Go’

Father of Paris balcony rescue boy was ‘playing Pokemon Go’

Gassama told Macron that he arrived in Italy in 2014 after more than a year in Libya, where he was arrested and beaten, "but I wasn't discouraged".

Gassama became a global sensation when he climbed up the balcony of a Paris storey building to rescue a baby who was clinging from the fourth floor on Saturday.

The child was rescued by 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, an undocumented Malian migrant.

Gassama met with French President Emmanuel Macron who personally thanked him, and said he would be rewarded for his "exceptional act" with papers to legalize his stay if he wants and a job as a firefighter. I like children, I would have hate to see him getting hurt in front of me. He said he heard the honking of horns and people in the streets shouting and didn't stop to think, running across the road to save the small boy.

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"I climbed ... thank God I saved him".

"I'm pleased because it's the first time I've received a trophy like that", Gassama, who arrived in France in September 2017, said after receiving his medal.

"I replied that his heroic gesture is an example for all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be committed to supporting him in his efforts to establish himself in France".

Video footage of bystander Mamoudou Gassama rapidly scaling the outside of an apartment building on Sunday to rescue a four-year-old boy hanging from a fourth-floor balcony turned the 22-year-old Malian migrant into a national hero. "But I should not have watched it because you know it's your son in the video".

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Macron is behind a bill toughening French immigration law, and he stressed there is no contradiction between rewarding Gassama for his act of bravery and working to prevent migrants from entering France illegally by stopping the stream of arrivals at its source.

The boy's paternal grandmother, who also lives in Reunion, told RMC radio Tuesday that she was "very moved" by the images of the rescue and sent "huge thanks" to Gassama.

Local authorities quoted by French media said the boy's parents were not at home at the time. "You need courage and the capability to do that".

"We are ready to welcome him on board!" it said.

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"Now, they're faced with the same daunting task again", Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said at a press conference. Eddison Alexander Hermond, a 39-year-old active member of the Army National Guard, has been missing since about 5:20 p.m.

The father has been questioned by police on suspicion of leaving his child unattended, judicial sources say.

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