Jibri Bryan, a young, promising college basketball player, was shot to death outside a convenience store on a busy street in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday.
“This is not a place to be at 2 o’clock in the morning,” said a local man named Gary Ames, who recently started a Neighborhood Watch group that had its first meeting Monday. “But at 4 in the afternoon you ought to be able to walk over here and get a Snickers bar.”
The brazen attack has everyone at Mercer University, where Jibri played guard for the Bears, scratching their heads. Bryan, who was only 23, is being remembered as a positive person and hard worker. Doug Willett, a coach at Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia, where the young man went to school, called Jibri a “class act.”
“I can’t imagine him doing anything to bring this on himself.”
Bryan was found dead in the driver’s seat of his Chevy Monte Carlo, parked in a space near the Flash Foods convenience store, the Macon Telegraph reported. The area is described as a “bustling” crossroads between the college and downtown.
Police have pieced together a picture of the crime based on their investigation and possibly footage captured by security cameras nearby.
On Tuesday afternoon, a 2012 Nissan Sentra approached Jibri’s vehicle. Two people were inside, with the shooter behind the wheel. The Sentra parked, and a man got out and walked behind Bryan’s car.
Meanwhile, the gunman (the assumption being that he also stepped out of the car) walked over to talk to Jibri, and he then shot Bryan in the head, killing him. Somehow, his accomplice — still standing behind Bryan’s car — found himself in the line of fire and was shot in the chest or neck and left behind.
The gunman drove off in the Sentra, which was found five hours later, abandoned, and the pistol recovered behind the convenience store. It’s now being processed for evidence. The name of the wounded accomplice was not released by the police. Authorities said they have “some good leads” but haven’t divulged a motive for the shooting.
County Sheriff David Davis was stunned that the crime took place in the middle of the afternoon on a busy street.
“It shows a disregard for who may be around. This is a sad situation. To do this in broad, open daylight, right here where hundreds of people are coming by, it shows just a callousness.”
Jibri, who graduated from Benedictine in 2010, was named a team MVP when he was a sophomore and junior, and he was on the honor roll from his sophomore to senior years. He’s the son of Tyrone and Karen Bryan and has an older brother. He arrived at Mercer in 2010 and was working on a graduate degree in marketing, according to NBC News.
For the Bears, Jibri started all of Mercer’s 35 games as a junior; per game, he averaged 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.4 steals. This season, Bryan had been battling a knee injury and so played only six games.
Bryan’s coach at Mercer, Bob Hoffman, called Jibri a “special young man… I loved him and cared about him from the very first time he was on our campus. We grew to be very close over the years.”
His high school coach, Willet, said that despite his injury, he always “stayed positive and he stayed close to Jesus.”
“The times I talked to him about it, he was real positive and kept working. That’s the way he was with everything — a hard worker, a great kid. It was a privilege to know him…. He was a great guy. Everywhere on the floor, off the floor, in life, he was what every father would want his son to be.”
[Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images]