A 16th birthday party for one of James Brown’s grandchildren ended tragically Saturday in the shooting death of an employee of the Columbia County facility where the party was held.
James S. Gillette Jr., 19, of Kensington Drive in Augusta, was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m. at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was taken after being shot at Belair Conference Center, Columbia County Chief Deputy Coroner Bonnie Holloway said.
The shooting took place after fighting broke out, Morris said. About 200 to 300 people were in attendance, and there was no known security, he said.
Patrons had been asked to leave because of the fighting but were being allowed back inside when shots were fired, Morris said. One of them hit Gillette, who collapsed just outside the building’s front door, he said.
Deanna Brown, a daughter of the soul singer, confirmed Sunday that the party was being held for her niece. Brown said she did not attend the event and had no other information.
After the shooting, several people were seen leaving in two vehicles, both of which were riding on at least one “donut” spare tire, Morris said. Authorities have a partial ID on one of the suspects, a black male known as “DQ,” but had made no arrests as of 9 p.m. Sunday.