Friend thinks UAB's Greg Bryant may have been targeted

Greg Bryant Jr. was shot in a car on southbound Interstate 95 early Saturday morning. Bryant was declared brain dead on Sunday.

Credit: Bill Ingram

Credit: Bill Ingram

Greg Bryant Jr. was shot in a car on southbound Interstate 95 early Saturday morning. Bryant was declared brain dead on Sunday.

Maurice Grover doesn’t know who killed his friend Greg Bryant early Saturday, but he has his theories.

Grover was with Bryant that evening at Sugar Daddy’s Cabaret in suburban West Palm Beach, Florida, as the two men celebrated Bryant’s last night in Palm Beach County before his planned return Sunday to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he attended school and played running back for the football team.

On their way home, an unknown assailant fired several times into Bryant's vehicle, killing the former American Heritage star athlete.

Grover, 25, said Tuesday that he and Bryant, 21, enjoyed themselves and encountered no trouble during their two-hour stay at Sugar Daddy’s, on Military Trail south of Southern Boulevard.

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Still, Grover believes someone targeted Bryant while they were at the adult cabaret.

“I don’t believe it was mistaken identity,” Grover said. “It had to be somebody that was in the club. Jealousy? Maybe. People will kill for jealousy and animosity. It’s a hateful world, man.”

Three days after the slaying, Grover dejectedly retold the story Tuesday while sitting outside his home in the Carver Park neighborhood.

After Bryant was shot, he slumped on Grover, who was crouched down in the passenger seat. Grover, shot once in both hands, attempted to perform CPR but was unable to do so because of his injuries.

That thought pained Grover on Tuesday far beyond the throbbing in his hands.

“I have a lot of hope that they track these guys down,” Grover said. “They need to, because what happened is just not right.”

Grover said that he and Bryant became friends playing street football outside their homes as kids. They remained close when Bryant left for South Bend, Ind., after earning a football scholarship at Notre Dame, where he played before leaving the school and enrolling at UAB.

Bryant was big as a child but had a sensitive side to him. Friends remember Bryant breaking down in tears at his own birthday party as a boy when his father was forced to leave early.

“He was an amazing kid, a very likeable person,” Grover said. “He never had any problems with anybody. The last time I heard of him fighting was when he was a little kid.”

Grover said he met up with Bryant early Saturday at Rumbass Nightclub, another club in suburban West Palm Beach. They drove together to Sugar Daddy’s to see friends who were playing music there.

“He was happy,” Grover said. “He was just ready to spend his last day here, Mother’s Day, with his people then go back and get to work and play ball.”

During their ride home at about 4:45 a.m., Bryant turned up the volume in his car. Grover said his initial thought after hearing the first gun shot was that it was part of the music they were listening to.

Grover said Bryant was shot once in the back of the head.

Unable to use his hands, Grover said he jumped out of the car and began waving for help. Two men stopped. One called 911 and then other performed CPR on Bryant.

“There was no road rage, no altercations at the club,” said Grover when asked what could have led to the shooting. “Nothing.”

Asked if he saw the shooter, Grover said, “I wish.”

Doctors have told Grover that his injuries will heal within six to eight weeks, “but it’s the emotional pain that gets to me.”

“I’m just trying to cope,” Grover said.