In one word, Warner Brock and Jessie Brownlee were “superheroes” to longtime friend Ashley Fulmer.
She said the two were the kind of people “who can run a marathon and turn around and be home to make dinner for their family.”
Roughly 50 people gathered Monday, Jan. 4, on the Gainesville downtown square, embracing and praying for the recovery of Brock and Brownlee after a shooting at a New Year’s Eve celebration.
Authorities were called out after 3 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, to a report of a man shooting inside 100 Spring St. in Gainesville, a multi-suite commercial building that includes Lanier Therapy in Motion. A company received its first approval in December to turn part of the building into an events venue.
Hall County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Chris Dale said three people were found with gunshot wounds.
Officers found Brock, 56, and Jessie Brownlee, 35, in critical condition, and both were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
Dale said 37-year-old Brian Brownlee, Jessie Brownlee’s husband, was found dead with a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities said they believe Brian Brownlee was the shooter and that the incident “stemmed from a domestic argument.”
Northeast Georgia Health System officials said Brock was in fair condition Monday, Jan. 4, but did not have information on Brownlee. Fulmer and the family said Brownlee has had some successful surgeries and has a long road ahead.
“They’re winning the small battles as they come,” Fulmer said
Brock is a physical therapist and Jessie Brownlee is a physical therapy assistant at Lanier Therapy in Motion. Betsy House, a physical therapy assistant who called the two her colleagues and friends, said she had known Brock for roughly three decades and Jessie Brownlee for half of that time.
“I think that’s what God instilled in us to do is to love others and care for others and lay our hands on others for the benefit of others,” House said. “These two souls, Warner Brock and Jessie Brownlee, they have an enormous amount of strength, physically, mentally, (and) emotionally. I admire them for who they are and what they do for all of us. If you’re here, then you care about us or you’ve been affected by us in some way.”
Fulmer said she met Jessie Brownlee about 23 years ago in school, someone she described as a larger-than-life personality who she gravitated toward. Jessie Brownlee encouraged Fulmer at 18 to come work at the physical therapy office.
Fulmer said Brock at times would come to her rescue as she was starting out, describing him as someone who gives “everything he possibly can to the community, to his friends (and) to his family.”
“Both of them are the kindest, most loving people, and I know we’re all blessed to have them in our lives,” said Frances Welch, of Clarkesville. “I know God will heal them fully, and they’ll be back with us.”
Jake Brooks, Christ Place Church kids’ pastor, read from Scripture about prayer.
“Even after we believe (Jessie) is going to come out of the hospital and continue to grow healthy and strong, there are more difficult days ahead,” Brooks said before leading the group into a prayer. “I want to encourage all of us to pray without ceasing even from this moment.”
As of 8:30 p.m. Monday, a Gofundme account for Jessie Brownlee had raised $13,610. No information was provided regarding a fundraising account for Brock.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth did not provide new details Monday, Jan. 4.