Family Of Drowning Victim: 'He Was An Awesome Guy' - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Family Of Drowning Victim: 'He Was An Awesome Guy'

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By Chris Conte

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Family and friends of a Murfreesboro teenager who drowned at a popular swimming hole on Tuesday night are speaking out in hopes of preventing another tragedy.

"And I think he would want me to tell everyone out there, just don't do it, it's not worth (it)," said Alena Gilbert, whose 19-year-old cousin EJ Patton drowned in Stones Creek on Tuesday.

EJ, according to his family had just jumped off a nearby bridge and had climbed out of the creek but when he decided to dive back in he apparently hit his head on something in the water.

"When he dove in he hit his head on a rock and it paralyzed him," she adds.

First responders and witnesses tried to save EJ but there was nothing they could do.

"I would really like to say thank you to the guys who pulled him out of the water, they came to my house last night and they gave me a rose and they apologized and said ‘they wish they could do more' but they did everything and I am so grateful for that," Alena said.

Patton was a recent graduate of Gensis Academy and an aspiring rapper. His friends said he always made people laugh.

"I was just so mad and flustered and angry because I just didn't understand why?" friend Joseph Green explained.

EJ's family hopes other teenagers will think twice before jumping in Stones Creek after hearing what happened to the young, especially given how high the water has been recently.

"I don't advise anybody to go back there for anything, don't swim."

On Wednesday afternoon, three teens were were out in the water near some falls. They all made it out of the water, but one slipped on the rocks and injured himself.

Rescue crews were able to secure the young man and transport him to a nearby hospital. He was later released. The age and identity of the victim were not available. 

Rescuers were also called out to the Stones River Monday and pulled two boys to safety after they were found clinging to trees near the dam. Another boy was pulled out Sunday.

Officials said they would post signs at the dam that warn it is dangerous, and is not a swimming area. They also posted signs on the bridge warning people not to jump from the bridge and to cross it safely.

Email: cconte@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisConte
Twitter: Twitter.com/ChrisConte

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