Long family seeks community support in fundraising for funeral costs

Nov. 2—VALDOSTA — Brianna Long's family is seeking the community's support through a GoFundMe fundraiser to help alleviate financial stress or costs to honor her memory.

Long's death resulted after an altercation outside a Remerton club called The Pier Bar. She was a 21-year-old bartender at the venue and was closing up the establishment early Sunday morning when she was struck by a bullet from a shooting that took place outside of the bar, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

Christy Hembree has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser in Long's memory. The fundraiser was launched on Sunday with an initial goal of $10,000. Donations have surpassed the goal as of Thursday afternoon and the goal has been increased to $25,000.

In an update to their supporters the organizers said, "We are truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and generosity that has been shown to our family during this difficult time. Your acts of kindness not only provide us with immense comfort but also serve as a testament to the deep love and compassion each one of you had for Brianna."

The update explained that the fundraiser's aim is to honor Brianna's memory and advocate for lives lost in similar situations, but also to establish future scholarships in her name.

"By doing so, we hope to keep her spirit, kindness, and character alive in the lives of others. Your contributions are not just helping us navigate through this challenging period, but they are also paving the way for a lasting legacy that will benefit future generations," the update said.

The organizers thanked the supporters who've contributed to the fundraiser. They said, "Most importantly, we want to express our deep gratitude for the prayers that have surrounded us. In the midst of this tragedy, we can feel the boundless love of Jesus moving through, sustaining us and providing strength. It is this love that keeps us going, and it is our unwavering goal to let His light shine through all of this."

The Pier of Valdosta, formerly known as Flip Flops, took to social media Tuesday stating the location would be closed until further notice.

"It's hard to find the right words because there is really nothing right about the situation. If you knew Bri, you loved her. Her kindness and love radiated onto to everyone who had the opportunity to meet her, know her, and love her. The impact she left on people and her community is what makes this so hard, yet so memorable. We are all suffering and trying to take this time to grieve, find peace, hope, and comfort in knowing she's in a better place," the bar's Instagram account post said.

Valdosta State University students held a candlelight vigil in Brianna's memory Wednesday evening on the campus Front Lawn. She was pursuing dental hygiene there and was taking her clinical courses on the campus of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Students gathered signing a VSU banner in honor of her passing.

Robbyn DeSpain, director of Strategic Communications at VSU, said Monday, "Our hearts are broken over the senseless loss of Brianna Long. We are keeping her family and friends in our thoughts and prayers."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations is spearheading the active and ongoing case. A suspect has not been named in the incident.

"We are continuing to interview witnesses and process evidence from the scene. There have been no arrests made," Jamy Steinberg, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge, said in an email Thursday.

The GBI said the case is active and ongoing. Investigators are asking anyone with information on this case to call the GBI Thomasville Office at 229-225-4090, or Remerton Police Department at 229-247-2320. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.