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Auburn’s Brian Battie critically injured in Sarasota shooting that killed his brother

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Auburn running back and former USF player, Brian Battie, is fighting for his life after he was injured in a shooting that left his brother dead and three others hospitalized in Sarasota on Saturday, according to reports.

At around 3:30 a.m., the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Tallywood Centre in the 3400 block of 17th Street and found a large crowd and four shooting victims.

Brian’s brother, Tommie L. Battie IV was pronounced dead at the scene. Brian and the three other victims were taken to hospitals in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

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According to Auburn’s football coach Hugh Freeze, Brian remains at a hospital on a ventilator.

“Auburn family. Please continue to pray for Brian Battie. There was a set back last night and he’s still on a ventilator. #AUSTRONG,” Freeze wrote in a post on X.

  • South Florida running back Brian Battie (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Houston Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
    South Florida running back Brian Battie (21) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Houston Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
  • Auburn running back Brian Battie carries the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico State Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
    Auburn running back Brian Battie carries the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico State Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Sarasota Herald-Tribune sports columnist, Doug Fernandes, reported that Brian had been shot in the head.

“This is unreal. Former Braden River RB Tommie Battie was shot and killed last night in Sarasota, and his brother, ex-Sarasota High, USF and current Auburn RB Brian Battie, was shot in the head and is fighting for his life,” he wrote in a post on X Saturday.

“After undergoing surgery last night, Brian Battie can open his eyes and move his hands, someone close to the situation told me,” he added.

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Brian and Tommie’s godmothers created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Battie family, and called the incident a “senseless shooting.”

“On May 18, 2024, the Battie family received the most devastating news that Tommie and Brian were victims of a senseless shooting. It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we have to share the unexpected passing of Tommie Battie IV (Pooh). Brian Battie remains in critical condition at a local hospital. We know he will continue to fight and overcome this, just as he has overcome so many other obstacles in his life. Losing a child so unexpectedly is something unimaginable and something that will never be healed,” the GoFundMe post said.

According to ESPN, Auburn released a statement, saying the school is “aware of the incident and still gathering information,” but the college has not made any other statements about the shooting.

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Sarasota City Commissioner Kyle Battie released a statement Monday regarding the tragic shooting.

“Hearing the news of this senseless act of gun violence over the weekend has left our family in shock,” he said. “My prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones, including my cousins who lost their son Tommy, and for my cousin Brian and his friend Lee who are both fighting for their lives. We must come together to do more to save our youth from these tragic ends.”

Battie, who attended Sarasota High School, kicked off his collegiate career at USF and was Auburn’s top kick returner last season. He also rushed for 227 yards as a running back.

According to his football profile, the 22-year-old has three siblings, Tommie IV, Sydnie, and Adriana Battie. He enjoys fishing and target shooting and is studying at the College of Liberal Arts.

Authorities have not made any arrests in connection with the shooting. They said it appeared to be an isolated incident. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900 or Sarasota Crime Stoppers at 941-366-8477.

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