Police officer saves autistic boy in Wildwood Lake

06/14/2010 12:00 AM |

A Southampton Town Police Officer pulled a 5-year-old autistic child out of Wildwood Lake in Northampton Sunday morning, authorities said.
Officer Kevin Gwinn was investigating a missing child report about 10:30 a.m. on Birch Court in Northampton when the boy’s grandmother said the child may have jumped a fence in the backyard.
There were three trails in the yard, and Mr. Gwinn picked the trail leading to the water because he thought that might attract a child, said Southampton Police Capt. Anthony Tenaglia. The trail led to an embankment about 25 feet above the lake, where Mr. Gwinn noticed the child’s shoes. He then noticed the bright colored T-shirt on the child, who was in the water, Mr. Tenaglia said.
The officer ran down the embankment and into the water, which was up to his waist, and found the child almost completely submerged, Mr. Tenaglia said. Mr. Gwinn pulled the child out of the water unharmed.
The officer was concerned because there is a section of the otherwise shallow lake that takes a deep drop, according to the captain.
There have been several drownings at Wildwood Lake over the years. The name of the child was not released by police. Mr. Gwinn  is a 23-year veteran who has won numerous awards during his police career