Girlfriend of Raleigh father who drowned saving his 7-year old son speaks out

Sean Coffey Image
Thursday, June 22, 2023
Raleigh man drowns saving his 7-year-old son from a rip current
"He was somebody who wanted to keep saving lives."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Wednesday, the girlfriend of the Raleigh man who died over the weekend saving his 7-year-old son from drowning spoke with ABC11 at their North Raleigh home.

Jon Shackelford drowned on an island beach near Wilmington on Saturday after pulling his son Lucas from a strong rip current. Lucas was struggling in the water when Jon went in.

His girlfriend, Marcie Corral, said she saw her daughter sobbing and then realized Jon was on the beach receiving CPR.

"He was cold. And they were like pumping stuff out of him. And I just begged him to stay, but I knew he was gone. I remember stepping away and screaming, and next thing I know, I'm on an ambulance," she said.

She said Jon put himself in harm's way and didn't let go of his son until he knew rescuers had a hold of him in the water.

"Jon took Lucas, and they reassured him that Lucas was going to be OK. And that's where he let go. It's like he was holding on to make sure even in his lowest moment... he held on," Corral said.

Corral said it's the second time Jon saved his son in the last few months after the 7-year-old choked during dinner.

"I came back to him performing the Heimlich maneuver on his son, who had a candy piece lodged in his throat. He saved his life that night, and I stayed with him. He stayed so calm," she said.

Shackelford was a former volunteer firefighter, and Corral said he never lost his sense of duty to help others.

"He missed the fact that he used to be a volunteer firefighter and he missed that whole thing," she said. "He felt like he was a community helper. He was somebody who wanted to keep saving lives."