Bibb County sheriff’s investigators have charged Jarvis Clinton Miller with murder in the Tuesday shooting death of Mercer University basketball player Jibri Bryan.
Miller ran off after the shooting, which happened outside the Flash Foods store on College and Forsyth streets. Witnesses gave authorities a description of what Miller was wearing, and deputies found him later on Orange Street, near the scene of the shooting.
Bryan was killed and Miller was critically wounded. Miller was later taken to the Medical Center, Navicent Health. He was listed in stable condition late Tuesday.
Bryan, a 23-year-old guard and graduate student from Savannah, was shot in the head with a pistol.
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A vigil is planned for Wednesday night at 9 p.m. at Hawkins Arena, inside the University Center in the middle of campus.
Bryan was found in the driver's seat of a late-model Chevy Monte Carlo that was backed into a space beside the Forsyth Street store, Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said.
The gunman apparently fled in a white 2012 Nissan Sentra that was recovered abandoned on Orange Terrace at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. The car is being processed for evidence at the Bibb County sheriff's crime lab.
The 4 p.m. slaying at the bustling corner of College Street, a well-traveled crossroads between the Mercer campus and downtown, was the city's first this year.
Details of the shooting were not immediately clear, but authorities said the episode was recorded by security cameras at the Flash Foods where it happened.
Davis said the other person who was shot arrived at the scene riding in the Sentra, with the shooter at the wheel. When the Sentra parked, the man stepped out and circled behind the Monte Carlo. Then the gunman, who had walked over to talk to Bryan, opened fire, killing him, Davis said.
The man who'd been riding with the gunman, standing near the back of the Monte Carlo, was in the line of fire and was possibly shot by his partner in crime, the sheriff said.
Investigators said the wounded man, later identified as 24-year-old Miller, was shot in his chest or neck. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. The gunman drove off.
"It shows a disregard for who may be around," Davis said. "This is a sad situation."
He said investigators had "some good leads" on who the gunman might be. Authorities didn't say what might have prompted the shooting.
Cars streaming in from Vineville and from Interstate 75 a few blocks to the west were detoured briefly as more than a dozen sheriff's cars clogged Forsyth Street.
A man who lives nearby, Gary Ames, said he and others in the area recently started a Neighborhood Watch group. Their first meeting was Monday.
"This is not a place to be at 2 o'clock in the morning," said Ames, 47, "but at 4 in the afternoon you ought to be able to walk over here and get a Snickers bar."
Light rain set in as investigators pored over the car that Bryan was in. The sheriff said they found a pistol behind the convenience store.
"To do this in broad, open daylight, right here where hundreds of people are coming by," Davis said, "it shows just a callousness."
Mercer President Bill Underwood said in statement late Tuesday, "Tonight the Mercer community is grieving the tragic death of graduate student Jibri Bryan, who has been part of the university family for six years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bryan family."
Basketball coach Bob Hoffman remembered Bryan as "a special young man."
"I loved him and cared about him from the very first time he was on our campus," Hoffman said in a statement. "We grew to be very close over the years."
According to Bryan's bio on Mercer's website, he was a 2010 graduate of Benedictine Military School in Savannah. He was named team MVP as a sophomore and junior. He was an honor roll student sophomore through senior years of high school.
He is the son of Tyrone and Karen Bryan of Savannah, and he has one older brother.
Bryan was named in December to a list of nominees for the 2016 Good Works Team, a selection made by The National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and Allstate Insurance Co., according to a news release.
He was one of 257 nominees for the award based on "a select group of student-athletes who have shown dedication to service in their communities," the release said.
Bryan started all of Mercer's 35 games as a junior and averaged career highs in points per game (7.8), rebounds 4.4) assists (1.3) and steals (1.4).
He had been battling a knee injury this season and had played in only six games, returning for the past three.
He arrived at Mercer in 2010, redshirted for the 2010-11 season and played six games in 2011-12 before suffering a season-ending injury and was granted a medical redshirt. Bryan played in 19 games in 2012-13 while battling injury and saw action in all 36 games in 2013-14.
Doug Willett, the current Benedictine boys basketball coach who was an assistant coach when Bryan played there, called Bryan "a class act."
"Everywhere on the floor, off the floor, in life, he was what every father would want his son to be," Willett said.
"I know at Mercer he dealt with some knee (injury) issues for two years, but he 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. I can't imagine him doing anything to bring this on himself."
Staff writers Liz Fabian, Linda S. Morris and Daniel Shirley contributed to this report. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.