A 12-year-old Chicago, Illinois, boy who attended church "every Sunday" with his mother, died tragically on the Fourth of July holiday after he was found drowned in three feet of water in an Indiana church swimming pool.
The boy, Davion Henderson, attended Corner Stone Baptist Church in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. On the Fourth of July, however, he was visiting Fairhaven Baptist Church in Chesterton, Indiana, according to CBS Chicago.
Police say at about 4:33 p.m., Davion was swimming in an indoor pool at Fairhaven with about five or six other children when he was found unresponsive. He was removed from the pool by an adult who performed CPR but was later pronounced dead at Porter Regional Hospital where he was taken for treatment.
Sgt. Jamie Erow, public information officer for the Porter County Sheriff's Department, said in a news release that the pool where Davion died is five feet deep at each end and three feet deep in the middle. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris told the Chicago Tribune that the boy was found in three feet of water.
In a GoFundMe campaign seeking $15,000 to assist with Davion's funeral set for July 14, Corner Stone Baptist Church Pastor Courtney Lewis said he met the boy and his family through "door-to-door outreach" and they faithfully came to church.
"His mother Angela faithfully brought Davion to church every Sunday with his other siblings. Angela is a single mom who cares for an additional son with cerebral palsy. We met the family through our church's door-to-door outreach," Lewis wrote. "Our hearts are broken, but we are determined to help."
After being criticized for not providing any assistance to Davion's family after the drowning, Fairhaven Baptist Church Pastor Steve Damron released a statement Friday morning.
"I want to express my sincere thanks to all first responders, police personnel, and other local law enforcement officials who did all they could during the recent tragedy that occurred at our church. Our heartfelt gratefulness is given to all those who expressed sympathy and offered to help. Words cannot express the pain the family is enduring at this time. However, it is encouraging to work first-hand with the folks in our local government; each one handled the situation with professionalism, care, and compassion. Please continue to pray for the family of Davion Henderson as they cope with this great loss," Damron wrote.
Some have lashed out against Fairhaven on the church's Facebook page for not offering support for the boy's family.
The Christian Post reached out to Fairhaven Friday morning about the criticism of the church's response and a representative who identified herself as Amy said the church had "no comment."
Kelly Cadwell, director of environmental health for the Porter County Health Department, told the Chicago Tribune that the church is not required to have lifeguards because it is considered a semi-public pool and because of its size. After Davion's drowning, however, she planned on rethinking the need for a lifeguard.
"They are right at the cut-off line for requiring it in terms of the size of their pool," Caldwell told the publication. "We're going to measure them out and see if they still meet all those rules but as of right now they do not have a lifeguard."
Fairhaven's indoor pool is described as a standard 50-yard pool. It is used for summer day camp and is also used by Fairhaven Baptist College.