A teenager was hospitalized in critical but stable condition after being rescued Wednesday afternoon from the pool at Roosevelt Park in Hampden, authorities said.
Police and fire units responded to the public pool, which was not open or staffed, at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, city officials said at a news conference.
The teen, who is about 16 years old, had entered the deep end of the closed pool after “several young people” had accessed the secured pool, Deputy Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley said.
Fire units performed CPR after diving in to retrieve the teen, who was found face down at the bottom of the 8-foot-deep end of the pool, Acting Baltimore Fire Chief Dante Stewart said. The teen was taken to a hospital, where he is listed in critical but stable condition.
Baltimore Police homicide detectives are investigating the matter due to the nature of the teen’s injuries, officials said.
The pool at Roosevelt Park is currently open only on a weekend schedule. The city’s six park-based swimming facilities will be open seven days a week starting June 15, and six more neighborhood-based pools operated by the city will be open Monday through Saturday. There is no cost to use the 12 city-operated pools this year.
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Offering thoughts and prayers to the young man’s family, Mayor Brandon Scott called the teen’s injuries “totally avoidable,” a “bad decision” that turned into an emergency.
“We want our young people, we want everybody in Baltimore to enjoy our pools, that’s why they’re free,” he said. “But you have to do that when the pools are open, when there is a lifeguard on duty, because swimming in an unsafe way can cost you your life.”
The issue of after-hours use of city pools was debated last summer when police used helicopters and loudspeakers to disperse groups of late-evening swimmers, prompting criticism from residents and council members who called the practice excessive. Park pools scaled back their operating hours last year as the city blamed a severe lifeguard shortage.
Baltimore Recreation and Parks Director Reginald Moore said at the conference that the department is “in a really good position” with lifeguard staffing for the upcoming swimming season, having held seven training courses as of last week, yielding 90 additional lifeguards. Some positions are still open, he said.
“As we have seen a national shortage, we as an agency, we feel really good about our position right now with the staffing we have,” he said.