Teen’s shooting saddens community

Published 6:32 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

They say he had a future.

He was a lady’s man, still a boy but learning how to make youngwomen covet him. He dressed sharp as a new knife and had a littlechange in his pocket. College was on his mind, too. He had decidedto drive an 18-wheeler one day and help move America.

But 16-year-old Bryant Holloway lost his life in a shootingearly Sunday night, leaving family members to remember what was anddream about what could have been.

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“I helped raise him. He was my baby, like one of my children,”said Sandra Johns, 40, Bryant’s aunt. “He dressed to impress. Hehad just gotten his first little job at Wendy’s. He wanted to go toschool and be independent.”

Bryant, a Brookhaven High School student who lived at 212 NorthChurch St., was pronounced dead at King’s Daughters Medical Centerjust after 9 p.m. Sunday night after receiving a gunshot wound tothe head. He will be buried Saturday.

Accused in the murder is fellow classmate Tye. Q. Williams, 16,of 632 North Sixth St. Williams turned himself in to authoritiesSunday night and appeared before Judge Raymond Boutwell inmunicipal court Tuesday, where his bond was set at $250,000.

Public defender Jason Tate was appointed to defend him. Apreliminary hearing has not been scheduled yet.

The shooting has left two local families in complete disbelief.Disbelief because the victim and the accused shooter were life-longfriends.

“They grew up together,” Johns said. “They played together,stayed at the same house. I would take care of (Tye) just like Itook care of Bryant.”

Authorities are still investigating the shooting and talking towitnesses, and few details have emerged. Johns said her family hadbeen told the two once-friends had a falling out in the daysleading up to the shooting.

“Tye told Bryant if he didn’t shut up, he’d shoot him,” sheclaimed. “We’re not mad, we just want to know why. What’s so hardthat he had to shoot him?”

Johns said the incident was not gang-related, saying her nephewhad “too much going for him” to be in a gang. Neither does shebelieve the accused shooter acted on his own convictions.

“He had to be coached into doing this,” she said. “He was aquiet child.”

One witness said Tye was quiet in court Tuesday when the chargesagainst him were read.

“(The judge) asked him if he understood what was said. He said,’no,'” said local activist Roy Smith, who was in the closedcourtroom after being arrested and charged with contempt of courtfor a heated exchange with Boutwell just two hours earlier.

Smith was released from custody after the hearing.

Members of the suspect’s family declined to comment Tuesday.

The first two days of the week at BHS were eerie, withcounselors consoling shocked students and rumors overtaking thecommunity. Word spread quickly Tuesday the high school was onlockdown for a shooting, that two students had been expelled forbringing guns to class and that parents were running wild to checktheir children out of school.

None of those rumors are true, said Brookhaven Police Chief PapHenderson.

“We’ve had those rumors since (Monday),” he said. “I understandthe concern … but that’s all it is so far, rumors. I’m not takinganything for granted, of course. I put an extra officer patrollingthat area and I’ll do it again if I need to.”

Brookhaven School District Superintendent Lea Barrett saidschool administrators are not aware of any altercations betweenHolloway and Williams at the high school. She called the shootingan “unpredictable, very sad act.”

“Any time we lose a child, it hurts the school, the family andthe community as well,” she said. “We feel so sorry for the parentsof both of those children.”

Life isn’t back to normal yet.

It never will be for the victim’s father, 38-year-old BryantLittle. Still, Little said his family is not angry with thesuspect’s family – the Lord had a reason for his son’s death, hesaid.

But he’s angry at the times. In his day, altercations weresettled in the parking lot after school, and combatants werefriends again the next day.

“You don’t have to resort to violence. You can walk away from alot of stuff,” Little said. “From what I’ve been told, that’s whatmy son was trying to do.”