Police: 5-year-old drowns in pool at Jacksonville apartment complex

2nd child in pool taken to hospital, police say

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 5-year-old boy drowned Thursday afternoon in a pool at a St. Nicholas apartment complex, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Officers responded about 4:30 p.m. to the pool at the Preserve at St. Nicholas apartments on Atlantic Boulevard, west of the Hart Bridge Expressway.

Police said the 5-year-old was found unresponsive in the pool and was rushed to Memorial Hospital, where he died. 

A second child who was in the pool was taken to Wolfson Children's Hospital and is expected to survive, police said.

Sgt. Marc Musser, with the JSO homicide unit, said both children were in the pool together when an adult saw them and yelled to maintenance workers, who then jumped the fence and tried to provide CPR. 

Both detectives and neighbors said the pool has been closed for a long period of time. Musser said the gate around the pool was locked, and detectives are investigating how the children got into the pool area.

A woman who asked not to be identified said she went to apartment managers multiple times to complain about children sneaking into the pool, which had water up to the 9-foot marker.

“I’ve talked with the maintenance people about boarding that area up and they have not done that. I have seen little kids, and I have had to run them out, so this was uncalled for. This shouldn’t have happened," she said. "One maintenance guy told me that it was the parents’ responsibility, which, I agree. Parents should be watching their children, but still, they should have taken extra precaution to make sure this didn’t happen."

It's unclear why there was still in water in the pool if it had been closed for a long period of time.

The pool should have been closed a long time ago," resident Nathan Manor said. "Maintenance should have done something about it when it was first reported.”

News4Jax called the manager's office for a response, but no one was available to answer the phone since it was after hours. 

In the meantime, police issued a heartfelt message to all parents.

"As a parent myself, I can tell you to hug your kids. Keep your eyes on them and always be aware of where they are because, unfortunately, these things can happen," Musser said. 

At this point, police have not confirmed whether the two children were related, or whether there were other children at the pool at the time.

The name of the 5-year-old has not yet been released.

Another woman at the scene became hysterical. She collapsed and required medical attention. There's no word on her condition.

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