Paulding mother mourns loss of daughter’s bright future: VSU student killed by stray bullet

A 21-year-old Valdosta State University student was killed after a stray bullet struck her as she was leaving work for the day. The Paulding County High School graduate was working her job as a bartender at The Pier bar in Remerton on Oct. 29 when her life was cut tragically short.

The mother of Brianna Long is still trying to work through her emotions.

"There are no words to describe the hurt that we have right now, the anger. We are absolutely devastated," said Brandi Spinks, Long’s mother.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Remerton Police are investigating her death early Sunday morning.

Spinks says Long graduated from Paulding County High School in 2020 and was attending VSU to be a dental hygienist.

"We are angry. She was our world. She was a cheerleader her whole little life, Miss Paulding County, honors student," Spinks said.

A representative with the university tells FOX 5 that Long’s family will receive her Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene during a private ceremony in the spring.

"That means so much. She was so excited and looking forward to graduating and moving on in life, to be independent, and we’re so proud of her," said Spinks.

According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the preliminary investigation has revealed the shooting stemmed from a fight outside the bar. Long was taken to the hospital, where she later died.

"We just want to know why. We want to know why, and we want to make sure that this person is no longer out there, taking away another innocent life," said Spinks.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Long’s family.

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Brianna Long (Supplied)

GBI investigators say no arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the GBI Thomasville Office at 229-225-4090 or Remerton Police at 229-247-2320. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477) or online.

FOX 5 received this statement from a Valdosta State University representative:

"Brianna ‘Bri’ Long was a fourth-year dental hygiene major from Dallas, Georgia. She was a Valdosta State University student who was completing her final clinical courses on the campus of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.

"Our hearts are broken over the senseless loss of Brianna Long. The death of a student affects the entire VSU community, and every member of our Blazer Nation family sends the deepest expressions of sympathy to Brianna’s family and friends as they process this devastating loss.

"The VSU Counseling Center has 24/7 resources for students needing grief assistance, including those in the VSU Dental Hygiene Program on the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College campus. 

"Faculty and staff in need of grief-support services are encouraged to contact KEPRO, our Employee Assistance Program, at 844-243-4440 to connect with a local professional. The code to access this service is USGCares. FamilyWorks, an on-campus clinic operated by the Marriage and Family Therapy program, is also available at 229-219-1281.

"Students held a vigil last night on campus."