By Tessa Raebeck
UPDATE: The East Hampton Town Police Department, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, is investigating the drowning of an 11-year-old child from Brooklyn that occurred at a home on Route 114 in East Hampton last weekend.
According to police, at approximately 5:08 p.m. on Sunday, June 1, police responded to a 911 call about an 11-year-old boy, since identified as Derek B. Smith of Brooklyn, who was unresponsive after being pulled from the bottom of a pool.
East Hampton Police and ambulance personnel responded to the scene and took the boy to Southampton Hospital. According to police, despite efforts to revive Derek, he was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital that evening. Police released his name Tuesday after notifying members of his family.
In a press release issued Sunday night, police said the death does not appear to be suspicious.
East Hampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Greg Schaefer said Wednesday that the child, who lived in Brooklyn with his grandmother, was out in East Hampton with a friend of the family who has ties to the residence they were at and was supervising him.
According to Detective Sgt. Schaefer, the two were alone in the house when Derek, who was fully dressed, went outside. Shortly afterward, his caregiver went outside to see where he was Derek was. She was unable to find him at first, and then discovered him at the bottom of the pool.
She brought him to the surface, called 911 and began CPR. When emergency workers and police arrived, they took over the effort to revive the child but were unable to. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It was a tragic and difficult week in our community,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said at a town board meeting on Tuesday morning, also referring to the death on May 26 of Tyler Valcich, a 20-year-old Montauk native.
“I just want to say how important pool safety is,” Supervisor Cantwell continued. “There are several thousand people every year who drown in a pool, it happens so fast. You almost can’t imagine how quickly things deteriorate.”
“Let’s please all be careful, it’s just a moment,” he added. “There’s safety requirements for all of us who own pools … if you are a pool owner, please be careful. Please call the town board about those safety requirements.”
Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at 537-7575.