Bryan Ramirez, 18, was always known for his big heart and persistent smile.
“Everything he did, he did it with kindness. He did it with a smile, regardless if he was having a bad day or not,” his aunt Diana Peralta said of the Gainesville man.
Ramirez, an employee of the Cleveland Highway Texaco, was shot and killed late Thursday night while taking a break with a friend at a picnic table outside the business.
He was struck in the back with a single round from a rifle and transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to a news release from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
“There was about 30 of his friends last night at the hospital with us,” Peralta said.
A suspect was identified in a Snapchat video of the shooting, according to authorities.
“I don’t know who all it was sent to, but it eventually came into the hands of a White County investigator,” Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stephen Wilbanks said.
Talon Lowery, 19, of Sautee, has been charged with murder and booked into the Hall County Jail.
It is unclear whether the victim and suspect knew each other, though people at the gas station and Peralta did not know of any ties between them.
A memorial was set up outside the gas station Friday.
“We loved him as family here. This is very devastating,” Texaco manager Tina Smith said.
Authorities responded to the incident just before 10 p.m. at the Texaco at 4110 Cleveland Highway and learned that Ramirez had been shot by someone driving through the parking lot in an F150 pickup truck.
Investigators at the White County Sheriff’s Office informed Hall investigators of the Snapchat video and their familiarity with the suspect.
White County authorities found the suspect at his home and detained him until Hall investigators arrived.
“Investigators obtained search warrants and retrieved the suspected murder weapon from the F150, which was also located at the suspect’s home,” according to the news release from Hall.
Investigators are working to determine whether there was any relationship between the two teens and whether anyone else was in the truck at the time of the shooting.
Anyone with information about the incident can call the Hall County Sheriff’s Office at 770-531-6879.