Balloons, food, family. It was a beachside gathering Thursday night on what would have been a birthday.
Loved ones gathered at Conimicut Point Beach in Warwick to remember Javon Jimenez on the day he should have turned 17.
The Providence teen drowned July 21 after being swept off a sand bar at the beach.
"Javon was a great kid. He was going to graduate. He was going to graduate next year," his mother, Brandy Jimenez, told NBC 10 News. "I look at him not only as my son, my football star, but as my hero."
Jimenez said she and Javon went to the beach at Conimicut for the first time July 21 with family.
Javon and his cousin walked out on the sand bar, and Javon was swept away. Jimenez said she didn't know there was trouble until she saw rescuers in the area.
"I was like, 'Oh my god, what's going on?'" she said.
Then she realized Javon was missing.
Emergency crews searched, but didn't find Javon's body until a day later.
"They could have saved him. He was in the water. They didn't have enough boats out there. They didn't have enough helicopters out there," Jimenez said. "I didn't see nobody go out there, no divers, nobody go out there in the area where my nephew said they were."
Warwick Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong didn't wish to comment on the criticism, but he did tell NBC 10 News that the victim's mother is welcome to meet with him to discuss her concerns.
Jimenez is also calling for change at the beach, urging that something be done about the sandbar where her son died and where there have been other drownings, too.
"I hope they get rid of that sandbar because this isn't the first time people have gotten stuck out there. People have drowned out there ... Close it off, put gates ... Get lifeguards, get something. Close it down, get rid of it," Jimenez said.
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