A Florida father was arrested after allegedly drunkenly throwing his 5-year-old son into the ocean in an attempt to teach him how to swim and then leaving his son struggling in the water while he did backflips off the Daytona Beach pier.
John Bloodsworth, 37, is now facing charges of aggravated abuse of a child resulting in physical/mental injuries, disorderly intoxication and swimming within 300 feet of the pier after the incident Monday night.
Witnesses told police they saw Bloodsworth hurl the boy into the water just north of the pier in water approximately four-feet deep and then leave him to struggle on his own.
“The little kid was out here by himself. Completely by himself. There was nobody around him, no adults,” witness Mitch Brown, a former Georgia state trooper on vacation with his family, later told local television station WESH.
Bloodsworth then began doing backflips off the pier into the water—despite restrictions that prevented water activity in the area due to the proximity to the pier.
Brown said he watched Bloodworth tumble from the pier, then swim past the child while yelling at him to learn to swim.
“I said, ‘I can’t take this no more.’ So I went down to the pier, down to the shore and confronted him myself,” he said.
Brown brought Bloodsworth to a Daytona Beach police officer, who later arrested him.
No life guards were on duty at the time and the area had a moderate risk of rip currents.
Bloodsworth told a police officer that he had been “teaching his son how to swim” and denied doing anything wrong, according to a report obtained by The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Witness Ajla Babic told police that she watched as the boy struggled to tread water—without making any progress toward the shore.
When police arrived about 8:15 p.m., those nearby had helped the child out of the water and were helping him dry off as he cried.
Bloodsworth, who authorities say was slurring his speech and smelled like alcohol, told officers he was “going to jail for being awesome.”
He also claimed he would be “coming back to the pier to jump off every day.”
Bloodsworth was brought the Volusia County Branch Jail. He was later released after posting $1,500.
The boy was turned over to his mother following his father’s arrest.
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