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June 27, 2000

Tragedy nearly struck the Tempe home of former mobster Salvatore Gravano on Monday afternoon when his 2-year-old grandson almost drowned in a backyard pool.

The toddler, Nicolas Gravano, had been ''underwater for approximately two to three minutes,'' said Phil Rohe, spokesman for the Tempe Fire Department, before he was rescued by his aunt.

Nicolas was taken to Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa in ''fairly good condition,'' Rohe said. He was placed on oxygen but was breathing on his own.

Apparently, Nicolas' aunt, who was not identified, was watching the boy and a 1-year-old child when Nicolas fell into the pool.

Although Gravano's large Tempe home at 1207 E. Secretariat Drive has a 6-foot fence along the perimeter, there is no barrier between the home and swimming pool.

The aunt had just pulled Nicolas out of the pool when rescuers arrived. Paramedics revived the boy by turning him on his side and pressing on his stomach, forcing him to vomit. No cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed, fire officials said.

Nicolas' father, Gerard Gravano, 24, and his 27-year-old aunt, Karen, were arrested on Feb. 24 along with the boy's grandparents Sammy Gravano, and Debra, 46; and Karen's live-in boyfriend David Seabrook, 32. They all are charged with participating in Arizona's largest syndicate dealing in the designer drug Ecstasy.

The boy's parents were not at the home when the near-drowning happened, Rohe said, but Debra Gravano pulled up as paramedics arrived on the scene.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Byline: By Beth DeFalco
©Copyright 2000 Arizona Republic

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