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Prosecutor: As Son Hung From Balcony, Dad Was Playing Pokemon Go

Meanwhile, Mamoudou Gassama gets praise all around after saving 4-year-old in Paris
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2018 8:21 AM CDT
Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, leaves the presidential Elysee Palace after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Monday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)
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(Newser) – The family of a French boy who was saved as he dangled from a fourth-floor balcony by a man dubbed "Spider-Man" is now calling Mamoudou Gassama's actions "incredible"—and shaking their heads at the child's father for leaving him unattended. Gassama is "truly a hero," the 4-year-old's grandmother tells the BBC of Malian migrant, who scaled a Paris building in just seconds to rescue the boy. The child had reportedly gone to live with his dad just weeks ago, with his mom and sibling set to join them from Reunion Island in June. The building's concierge tells BFMTV the father actually lives on the sixth floor; a new report says the boy fell two stories before grabbing onto the fourth-floor balcony. A French prosecutor says the father left the boy alone to go shopping and stopped on the way home to play Pokemon Go, per CNN.

"I can't justify what my husband did," the boy's mother tells Antenne Reunion, via the BBC. "My son was just lucky." She adds that her husband wasn't used to watching their son and had left him alone in the past. The father, who was taken into police custody on Sunday, could face up to two years in prison if convicted on charges of "failure to meet parental obligations," per the New York Times. Meanwhile, some are railing against President Emmanuel Macron's offer of French citizenship to the 22-year-old Gassama, calling it a PR stunt considering Macron's hardline approach to immigration. "I dream of a country where it wouldn't be necessary to scale a building to save the life of a child, at the risk of one's own life, to be treated like a human being when you are a migrant," posted an editor for a literary magazine on Facebook. The BBC has more on Gassama's life. (Read more France stories.)

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