Descending on a Decatur apartment complex, authorities closed in on the man they believe shot and killed a Mercer University basketball player last week. They staked out his place. They watched him come outside with a woman and kiss her goodbye. And when he went back inside, they crashed through the door.
Authorities say Damion Henderson had gunned down graduate student Jibri Bryan outside a Macon gas mart last Tuesday afternoon. Henderson had been on the run for three days when authorities cornered him at the apartment on Gatehouse Drive.
When they busted in the door, Henderson ran with no shoes on his feet to another building. He was found in an abandoned apartment, hiding in a closet, said Deputy John Edgar of the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Henderson's arrest on Friday, the second in the case, brought to a close the hunt for suspects in the killing of the Savannah man. Today, Bryan's loved ones must seek another kind of closure as they attend the funeral of the 23-year-old at Saint James Catholic Church in Savannah. He leaves behind a 2-year-old son.
Bryan, they said, was a man dedicated to helping people in his community. He tutored at Macon elementary schools. He cautioned high school students against dropping out. He painted houses for charity.
“He was a role model for me,” said Kevin Evans, 23, who grew up with Bryan in Savannah, where they played hoops together in recreation leagues. “He would always tell me to get my degree. That, he said, was what’s really going to show your character.”
Bryan was not a superstar, but he could have breakout games, Evans said. Last season he started each of the Mercer Bears’ 35 games, playing guard, averaging about 8 points.
Knee injuries had limited his playing time this year. His community work, however, led to his nomination for a spot on the 2016 Good Works Team, comprised of college players who’ve worked to improve their community.
Winners are expected to be announced today for the team, which is sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and Allstate Insurance Co.
Bryan’s death has received national coverage, including a piece on the Sports Illustrated web page.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the 4 p.m. shooting at Flash Foods in Macon. They said they are still working to figure out what brought together Bryan and the two men charged with killing him.
On Monday, Lt. Randy Gonzalez told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a bottle with a “suspicious substance” and a “wad of cash” were found beside Bryan’s white Chevrolet Monte Carlo, parked next to the store.
He declined to comment further. Evans, Bryan’s longtime friend, said he never knew Bryan to “do that kind of thing.”
Felony Murder Charge
Bryan, driving alone, had backed the car into the spot and was sitting in the vehicle when two men pulled up in a Nissan Sentra, Gonzalez said. The convenience store is located in a busy downtown area about a half-mile from Mercer.
Henderson exited the car, walked over to the driver’s side window and started talking to Bryan. The other man, Jarvis Miller, stood by the passenger side. When Henderson started shooting at Bryan, he also struck Miller several times in the chest, Gonzelez said.
Both men fled, Henderson in the Sentra, and Miller on foot. Police caught up to Miller within minutes and took him to the hospital. He has since been moved to the jail. Both men have been charged with felony murder.
Henderson has a history of crime on the southside of metro Atlanta and has served a dozen years in prison.
Stand Like A Man
When Darnisha Green heard of the shooting, she decided to do something positive. She created a GoFundMe account for Bryan’s son and the boy’s mother. Green and the mother are graduates of Herschel V. Jenkins High School in Savannah, Class of 2010.
By Monday, the account had raised more than $1,650. Those who wish to help can go to https://www.gofundme.com/vqn39gks.
Bryan appeared to be a man of faith.
“Walk by faith not by sight,” read one of his tweets in November. “Life is about how will you overcome adversity thrown your way. Will you fold or stand like a man?”
Another of his tweets: “God is good!”