September 20, 2015 Durham County, N.C. Sheriff’s Deputy David Earp was off duty and at home when he received a phone call at about 9:00 P.M. that there was a disturbance involving children at a pond not far from where he lived. Grabbing a few items he rushed out of his house to see if he could help kids in trouble.
Earp lives close to a pond that is surrounded by an apartment complex. He grabbed his Sheriff’s Department tee shirt for identification, a flashlight and his shield and ran out to help after hearing that children might be in trouble.
As he approached the pond he could hear crying and could see one girl floating in the pond and another one submerged in the pond. He rushed directly into the dark pond after discarding his equipment and latched onto both girls who were in about 5 feet deep water and 10 feet from the shore.
One of the two girls was about 5 years old and crying, Earp took her to a nearby Gazebo as other officers arrived on the scene to keep her from seeing her 3 year old sister who was unresponsive and unconscious.
“I knew she was terrified and I just took her off and didn’t want her to be around her sister,” Earp said.
Earp and the other officers gave the 3 year old child CPR for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until paramedics could arrive and take over.
The two children had been thrown into the pond by their father (Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter, 29, of Raleigh) who was later arrested for attempted murder of the two girls and one count of attempted murder of his son as well.
The 7 year old boy was able to escape and called for help.
Lassiter stood by as Earp and others provided CPR to his children and saved their lives calmly smoking a cigarette.
According to WRAL.com Lassiter contacted 911 and stated:
“I just drowned my two daughters in the lake back there … ’cause CPS wanted to take them away from me,” he said. “I was dealing with some pedophilia things, OK, OK. I was dealing with some sexual desires that I was trying to get some help with, but instead they turned their back on me, the whole system, and tried to take my kids, and they took the rest of the, of the little happiness that I had.”
Earp, 26, Was interviewed by Associated Press reporters at the Durham County Sheriff’s Headquarters was clearly disturbed over the event.
“It plays over in my mind a lot, as I’m sure with any person,” Earp said. “Hopefully these kids will push through.”
He added, “When it was all going on, I had tunnel vision. But later on, I felt like if I didn’t show up and find out where they were, they possibly could have stayed in the water for several more minutes … I felt like I did one of the best things I could.”
While the 7 and 5 year old child survived, despite Deputy Earp and other Officers heroic efforts unfortunately the 3 year old child did not survive the incident after struggling for several days in critical condition.
If not for Deputy Earp the loss would have been greater still.
Photo Credit: Durham County Sheriff’s Office