As the new school year approaches, students from Baltimore to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia remember David Tolulope Esan, the Hampton University freshman who drowned in a campus swimming pool during a school-sponsored celebration in March.

Esan, 17, a graduate of Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Baltimore County, was attending a chaperoned, freshman week party on March 20 when his body was found at the bottom of the 12-foot end of the pool by a football player, one of the crowd estimated at 100-150 people. He was transported to nearby Sentara CarePlex Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

As they mourn, friends and family questioned how this student, who didn’t know how to swim and was typically careful near water, ended up dead at an event that was supposed to be supervised by university administrators and security in a pool that should have been monitored by lifeguards. David was buried on April 5, the day before he would have turned 18.

Witnesses said that at the party there was music and dancing, along with some horseplay that resulted in people being pushed into the indoor pool.

David’s brother, Daniel, 21, a rising senior at the University of Maryland College Park, said the family is still trying to come to terms with his brother’s death. Their parents, Kemi and Ade Esan, hired an attorney, Jasper Nzedu, a criminal and personal injury lawyer who is president of the Northern Virginia chapter of African Christian Fellowship, USA, shortly after David’s drowning. They have also hired an investigator to conduct a probe independent of the investigations by campus and Hampton City Police Department.

He told the {AFRO} that the case has not been resolved.

“No, not yet,” he said. “The investigation is still going on.”

Daniel said that the family has received information that verified student statements that David was spotted in the water by the football player, who jumped in, along with other students, to try to save him. “The lifeguard was the last to jump in,” he said.

He said the family has also learned that there were university administrators in the pool area, as university spokeswoman Yuri Milligan said shortly after the incident.

“They were at the gate collecting money,” Daniel said. “You can’t monitor the pool and be at the gate.”

Hampton University police, Hampton city police and Milligan did not return several messages left early this week regarding investigations into David’s death on the campus.

Bria Freeman

As told to the AFRO