Only on 12: Family speaks out about pool safety after death of 3-year-old

Family speaks out about pool safety after drowning of 3-year-old (WRDW-TV, July 1, 2012)

Family speaks out about pool safety after drowning of 3-year-old (WRDW-TV, July 1, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o' clock / Sunday, July 1, 2012

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. -- A family is mourning the loss of a 3-year-old boy after he drowned in the family's pool earlier this week.

The child was playing at his grandmother's house when he slipped outside.

Jonathon Shuker, or "Puppy" as his family called him, was taken off life support on Thursday.

"Other grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, if you have a pool, have a gate around it, put a fence around it, have alarms," said Jamie Shelby, Shuker's grandmother.

Shelby says she would give anything to turn back time and take her own advice.

"I want my 'Puppy' back. All I can do is cry and apologize and pray that there's some way I can be forgiven," she said.

"Puppy" was staying with Shelby when the accident happened.

"He was right there, and then I realized he wasn't there, I was like, 'Puppy!' I started yelling for him," she said.

She didn't worry at first, because "Puppy" loved to play hide and seek.

"I didn't see him go out the front door, and he doesn't usually go out the back door without me," she said, but when she noticed the back door was open, panic set in. "I feel bad, I feel horrible. I mean, he never went out the back door without me."

A family member found the boy in the swimming pool and quickly began CPR.

"We got 911 on the phone, did everything we could, but we were too late," Shelby said.

Shuker was taken off life support on Thursday, and the pool was destroyed.

"We went out and cut the pool up. Literally. There will be no other child done like that here," she said.

Her message to other families with pools is simple: "Parents ... please be careful."

The family donated Shuker's organs. The donation helped save four children's lives. In lieu of flowers, there has been an account set up at Georgia Bank and Trust under the name "Jonathon Shuker Jr. Family Fundraiser."

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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