16-year-old Racine drowning victim was on beach without lifeguard

A Racine teen who drowned in Racine Sunday was swimming on the beach with friends, but no lifeguards. 

Amari Donell Griffin-Brewer is the second teen to drown in two weeks in Lake Michigan, after a 14-year-old also drowned in Shorewood earlier this month.

Both teens were with friends, and both were on beaches without lifeguards.

“Everyone should know, you’re not promised tomorrow,” said Javern Taylor, Griffin-Brewer's stepdad.


“A lady came and knocked on our door, and she was frantic and said something had happened with Amari,” Taylor said. “He and his girlfriend, they were swimming and she turned around and she didn't see him anymore. They waited for a little bit and he never resurfaced, that's when they called 911.”

Taylor rushed to the scene, near one of the broken docks, just north of North Beach.

“I started running, and as I got closer I saw lights and tape and stuff like that,” he said. “Roughly 15-20 minutes after I got to the actual scene, they had pulled him out of the water, to try to resuscitate him and bring him back.”

But it was too late.

“You just pray that he will come out of the back of that ambulance,” Taylor said. “You pray for a miracle. But it didn’t come.”

Taylor had to return home and tell his wife, and four other kids, that Amari was gone.

“You're left questioning God, like how and why did this happen?” Taylor said. “He was a very bright student, very talented. He was well-liked by his friends, teachers, neighborhood, everybody. He had a bright future. So, you just wonder why him?”

Amari was getting ready to start classes at Racine Park High School.

Taylor says Amari knew how to swim. Investigators warn that there can be a strong undertow in the water.


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