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Chattahoochee drowning victim ID’d as Forsyth resident
Son of south Forsyth church’s pastor
Joshua Katikala
Joshua Katikala.

A man who drowned after jumping off Settles Bridge into the Chattahoochee River last week has been identified as the son of a south Forsyth pastor.

On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Joshua Katikala, 20, son of Lifeline Church Pastor Rev. Sanjeev and his wife, Sabina Katikala, died after jumping off the bridge into the water with two friends in Gwinnett County.

One of the friend’s called 911 around 5:30 p.m. after Katikala “appeared to be in distress when resurfacing,” according to Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for the department. “One of the friends jumped in the water to provide assistance as the other friend grabbed a cellphone to call 911. The friend in the water made contact with the victim about 100 yards downstream from the bridge. The victim was combative, and the friend was unable to rescue him without placing himself in extreme danger.”

Several agencies responded to the river to search for Katikala.

He was located two feet underwater at 6:18 p.m. by members of the Gwinnett Fire Swift Water Rescue Team about a mile south of Settles Bridge. He appeared to be caught by underwater tree debris in a 10-foot deep area, Rutledge said.

A Gwinnett Fire Rescue boat transported Katikala to an ambulance waiting onshore while rescuers and paramedics performed CPR.

He was later transported him to Emory Johns Creek Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

A You Caring page members of Lifeline’s congregation created to raise money for Katikala’s funeral said he “touched the lives of many.”

“He never failed to have a smile on his face, and he showed us how to live as a child of God, himself shining as a living testimony to Jesus Christ,” the page says. “The pain of losing a 20-year-old son is unbearable and the loss irreparable for the parents and sister; that will stay with them rest of their lives.

As of Tuesday afternoon, contributors had raised $18,719, which will go towards a $30,000 goal for funeral and other related expenses.

On Saturday, the family released viewing and funeral arrangements scheduled for later this week.

More information can be found at youcaring.com/sanjeevakatikala-906816.