TOWNSHIP OF WASHINGTON, N.J. — A Bergen County community gathered Sunday to remember 18-year-old Clinten Ajit, after police
The wake for Ajit was scheduled for 4 p.m. at St. Peter’s Mar Thoma Church in Washington Township, CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook reported.
Witnesses said Ajit went into the pond on Friday to retrieve a soccer ball and apparently drowned after he suddenly went underwater.
“He was a passionate kid. He had his whole life ahead of him,” said Aram Bavoukian, a senior at New Milford High School.
Police said Ajit went into the frigid water of Hard Castle Pond at around 7 p.m.
“The water went up to his waist. Then it went up to his neck. Then he had his whole, full body in the water,” said 10-year-old Sam Rueda, who saw the tragedy unfold with his family.
Sam’s father gave CBS2 permission to interview his son.
“After he put his hands down, that was the last we ever saw of him. Then his friends started to panic,” Sam said.
That’s when witnesses called 911.
“Next thing you know, they were putting the boat in the water. They were dropping the boat in, and another boat. Guys were suiting up,” neighbor Steven Cerenzio said.
Ajit’s body was recovered nearly three hours later.
Friends said he was a smart and kind kid. His classmates, like many others in the town, were in disbelief.
Friends and strangers stopped by the pond on Saturday to leave flowers at a small, but growing memorial.
“They’re all in shock,” Bavoukian said. “Like, it was so quick. You go from, like, we all had classes with him a couple hours before.”
“I don’t know. I just want the family to know they’re in my prayers. I was up all last night just thinking about that poor mom and what she had to go through,” neighbor Mary Lukas said.
Grief counselors will be available at New Milford High School on Monday, the school district said.
Police are still investigating the events leading up to the teen’s drowning.