Atlanta teen, family friend die on spring break saving kids from drowning at Florida beach

ATLANTA — A local family is remembering a teenager who died on spring break, while trying to help others.

The family said 16-year-old Bryce Brooks and their friend, Charles ‘Chuck’ Johnson, II, saved a group of kids who appeared to be drowning off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

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Shivy and Crystal Brooks are still in shock. It’s been days since their son, Bryce, and a friend Chuck drowned Thursday. Shivy Brooks said their sons saw four other younger kids, who they didn’t know, being swept away by rip currents, and they all jumped in to save them.

That’s when Johnson jumped into the ocean to save Bryce, but Bryce and Johnson didn’t make it back to shore.

“Our family is devasted. Our community is devastated,” said Shivy Brooks.

Brooks said Bryce was calling for help, but not for himself.

“Being selfless, our son Bryce, while being pulled by the currents himself, literally called for help, not for himself, but he was calling for help for the little kids that he was looking out for,” said Shivy Brooks. “Bryce is a hero. He literally saved the lives of four kids at the expense of his own.”


Bryce was a student at Maynard Jackson High School. He played the piano and produced musical beats.

“Definitely into fashion. He was a member of the fashion club here at Maynard, honor roll student, A/B honor roll. He just made the honor roll,” said Crystal Brooks.

Crystal Brooks said her son died helping others but it doesn’t take away the pain of losing a child.

“We’re never going to get to see Bryce grow up and be the full man that he was going to be. But we know that he stepped into his manhood to save these children. That makes me proud. It doesn’t take an ounce of pain, but it makes me proud of our son,” said Crystal Brooks.

A GoFundMe has been established and has already raised more than $75,000 in support of the family.

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