Teen's drowning raises concerns about community pool - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Teen's drowning raises concerns about community pool

(Source: Family) (Source: Family)
L.E. Brown community center pool (Source: WMC Action News 5) L.E. Brown community center pool (Source: WMC Action News 5)

A 13-year-old boy drowned in a South Memphis community pool Sunday afternoon.

Memphis Police said four children jumped the fence of the L.E. Brown community center pool. Once inside, the 13-year-old, identified by family as Cedric Walton, jumped in the pool and drowned.

The pool was closed on Sunday.

Memphis Fire Department pulled the boy out of the pool and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"That was my grandson. I'm going to miss him. I'm going to miss him," said ZsaZsa Wright, Cedric's grandmother. 

ZsaZsa Wright said she wishes she was able to do more for her grandson. 

"He was fighting for his life. He wanted his brother to help him but he couldn't. He wasn't there. I wish I was there, because I can swim," said Wright. 
"It feels sad because that was my big brother, and I loved him," added Cantrell Walton, Cedric's brother. 

"That just hurts us the most, no one could do anything about it," said Jasmine Hervery, the victim's cousin. 

His friends tried to help.

"I was trying to show him what to do, but he was constantly trying to float.  I was like 'come on, just swim like this and move your feet', and he just couldn't do it," said Cedric's best friend Nickavius Jones. 

The teen's family says he made a mistake.

"It's a learning experience for my other grand babies because they know they didn't have any business going to that pool," said ZsaZsa Wright.
Despite the kids actually jumping the fence and the locks on the gates, there are still some concerns about funding to possibly keep the pool open every day. Some residents said this tragedy may not have happened if there was more funding to keep this pool open more and lifeguards on duty.

Mayor A C Wharton disputed that claim, saying Sunday and Monday have been maintenance days for the pool since 2008 and said funding has nothing to do with the pool not being open on those days.  He said he's working to see what else can be done to prevent people from jumping the fences and getting into pools while they're locked. 

Meanwhile, as this family grieves, they want others to learn from this tragedy. 

"I think parents need to put their kids in some swimming lessons," said ZsaZsa Wright.

The family is also raising concerns about the emergency response time. WMC Action News 5 is working to learn more about that.

The family is now planning the teen's funeral.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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