Family Grieves, City Leaders Push for Safety Improvements After Teen Drowns in Hartford Pool

There is heartbreak and frustration for a Hartford family after a teenager drowned in a city pool.

They believe his death could have been prevented. And the city is already acting to hopefully avert another summer tragedy.

In Hartford on Monday, grieving family and friends came together for a vigil for 16-year-old Jaevon Whyte.

“He loved everybody. He loved his friends, his family. There’s not one person that he won’t love,” said Lakeisha Dunn, a cousin of Whyte.

Emotions ran high as they remembered Whyte’s smile, intelligence and hopes of playing basketball and becoming a police officer.

Those dreams were never fulfilled after last week Whyte drowned in a pool at Keney Park just feet from where the group gathered.

“I think all of our hearts have been heavy since we learned what happened on Wednesday morning,” said Mayor Luke Bronin, (D-Hartford).

That’s when police discovered the teenager who they believe had trespassed at the pool with a large group of friends.

Whyte’s family says he shouldn’t have been there.

“I just couldn’t believe that he would be at a pool because he can’t swim,” said Dunn.

At the same time the vigil took place, city councilors voted to move ahead with a review of the public pools and what could be done to make them safer.

The city has already revealed a surveillance system of the pool was not working properly at the time of Whyte’s death.

“Very angry with the city. I feel like it could have been prevented,” said Dunn.

The mayor has already ordered a review of how the cameras are operated and maintained.

Now Monday’s call for a study by the council goes to two committees before coming back to the council for another vote.

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