A former high school soccer star died in a hail of bullets at a crowded Georgia bar where she worked after a gunfight erupted outside at closing time.
Bar worker Brianna Long, 21, was hit by a stray shot as terrified customers scrambled for cover outside the Pier Bar in Valdosta at 2.30am on Sunday.
The young dental student and former cheerleader was taken to the city’s South Georgia Medical Center, where she later died as police began hunting for the shooter.
‘Out the blue shots just started happening out of nowhere, just boom boom boom boom boom,’ said bar customer Eboni Tomblin.
‘I felt like I was going to get hit by a bullet at any moment.
Georgia College student Brianna Long, 21, was the innocent victim when a gunfight erupted outside the bar where she worked
‘Multiple vehicles were shot’ according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation outside the Pier Bar in the Remerton district of Valdosta
‘She was charismatic, funny, everything,’ Brianna’s aunt said. ‘She was just so beautiful’
‘They’re putting a lot of teens and a lot of people in this in one little space and expecting things not to go left when all these people, a lot of them are immature, childish, and under influence.’
Brianna was a star player at Paulding County High School outside Atlanta where she was selected over 5,000 other entrants as a regional winner in the Positive Athlete Georgia competition.
‘There was not a fun time that we did not have with Brianna,’ her uncle Kevin Long said.
‘She was always making everyone smile.’
‘She was a cheerleader, a Paulding County High School soccer star. She was also a lifeguard.
‘She cared for everyone so much, and she would do anything for anyone.’
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the lot outside the bar was packed with people and ‘multiple vehicles were shot’ as the gunfight escalated.
‘Brianna and other employees were closing the bar down after it had closed to patrons about 2am,’ a spokesman said.
‘At about 2.30am there was a shooting outside the bar and Long was hit as she was finishing her work with another co-worker.
‘The early investigation indicates that the shooting stemmed from some type of altercation that happened outside The Pier.
‘Many patrons were outside during the shooting and multiple vehicles were shot.’
Brianna’s aunt Morgan Long, 29, said she felt more like a sister to her niece who regularly stayed at her home while at Valdosta State University.
‘She was like my person, she was like my other half,’ she added.
‘She was charismatic, funny, everything. She was just so beautiful.
‘There was not one person that she didn’t give an opportunity to love or encourage or be their friend.’
Brianna, who wanted to be a children’s dentist, is survived by two brothers, her parents and all four grandparents.
Her funeral will take place on Saturday and her former high school will hold a celebration of her life on Sunday.
‘Writing this seems impossible and is incredibly devastating, like a terrible nightmare we wish we could all wake up from,’ wrote a manager at the Pier Bar on its Instagram page.
‘There is really nothing right about the situation.
‘If you knew Bri, you loved her. Her kindness and love radiated onto to everyone who had the opportunity to meet her, know her, and love her.’
The talented young student wanted to be a children’s dentist and was months away from graduating Valdosta State University
Tributes to Brianna have been left outside the bar where she was killed on Sunday morning
The 21-year-old is survived by two brothers, her parents and all four grandparents
Brianna was a star player at Paulding County High School outside Atlanta where she was selected over 5,000 other entrants as a regional winner in the Positive Athlete Georgia competition
Brianna, seen here with a friend, cared for everyone so much, and she would do anything for anyone according to her uncle Kevin Long
But the city is in the top 25 percent for crime in the US according to crimegrade.org, with the bar’s Remerton district among the most dangerous.
‘Personally, I feel like over the years of living in Valdosta, I have heard too many things going on in that strip, and most of the violence in Remerton comes from that strip,’ Tomblin told WTXL
‘I feel like that is not a safe place to go if you want to go clubbing and just want to have fun.’
No arrests have been made.