Ex-college baseball player from Gwinnett dies after being struck by boat in Florida

Brandon "BJ" Harmon

Credit: University of West Florida

Credit: University of West Florida

Brandon "BJ" Harmon

While wakeboarding in Florida over the weekend, a Gwinnett County native was struck and killed by a suspected drunken boater, according to multiple media reports.

Brandon "BJ" Harmon, 25, of Lawrenceville, died Saturday after being struck by a boat operated by Walker James O'Connor, who faces a boating under the influence charge in connection with the fatal wreck, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Walker James O'Connor

Credit: Escambia County, Fla., Sheriff's Office

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Credit: Escambia County, Fla., Sheriff's Office

Harmon, who played baseball at Mill Creek High and the University of West Florida, was wakeboarding on Bayou Texar in east Pensacola at the time of the incident, the newspaper reported.

His alma mater, which is located in Pensacola, put out a statement following his death. In the statement, UWF head baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat said, in part: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to BJ's family and friends. This is a tragedy of a young man taken to soon."

Harmon transferred to the university in 2016 for his junior year and played as an outfielder for two seasons. He appeared in 97 games with 95 starts.

He graduated from UWF in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in health care administration, according to the statement.

“He was loved and respected because of how he treated everyone he came in contact with,” Jeffcoat said. “He was the example of all that encompasses being a student-athlete here at UWF and he will be dearly missed.”

On Sunday, authorities arrested O’Conner, 26, and booked him into the Escambia County jail, the News Journal reported. He was released later that day on a $1,000 bond, jail records show.

Prosecutors told the newspaper that they are reviewing the case to determine if additional charges will be filed. That decision will be made in the next week or two, they said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement that Harmon was pronounced dead at the scene.

“We would like to extend our condolences to Mr. Harmon’s family and friends,” the department wrote in the statement.

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