PARIS (CNN) — The father of a young child dramatically rescued from a Paris balcony was out playing Pokemon Go when the incident happened.
In an interview with CNN-affiliate BFM TV Monday, French prosecutor Francois Molins said the four-year-old’s father had gone out shopping, leaving the child at home alone, and started to play the video game once he left the shop.
The toddler was being looked after by his father in Paris while his mother was living on Reunion Island, Molins said.
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 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.
“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.
(©2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved. By Saskya Vandoorne, Ben Westcott and Vasco Cotovio)