"It doesn't take away an ounce of pain, but it makes me proud of our son and what he sacrificed," his mother said.
A 16-year-old Atlanta boy died a hero when he jumped in to save a small group of kids from drowning but perished while assisting them. Bryce Brooks was on a trip with his family to Pensacola when he and a group of pals "witnessed four other younger kids who they did not know being pulled by the current," according to his father, Aflred "Shivy" Brooks. He noticed the group of smaller kids drowning and quickly jumped into action and tried to save them, per PEOPLE.
He died while rescuing them, as did a family member who jumped into the ocean to assist the teen in the rescue, according to ABC station WSB-TV. "Our son Bryce, while being pulled by currents himself literally called for help, but not for himself, he was calling for help for the little kids he was looking out for," his father said. The family was on spring break when the incident occurred.
Unfortunately, while he was in the water, Bryce "was pulled under," his father added. "Our family is devastated," he said. "Our community is devastated."
According to authorities in Escambia County, four persons were dragged over 100 yards by rip currents on that particular day, as reported by ABC affiliate WEAR-TV. The event occurred in a location without lifeguards, and at the time, yellow flags — which denote moderate currents — were flying.
The boy's parents, who appeared with Bryce in an episode of Netflix's Instant Dream Home, say they're "so proud" of him even if nothing can erase the anguish they feel. "Bryce is a hero. He literally saved the lives of four kids at the expense of his own," his father said at the news conference.
"We're never gonna get to see Bryce grow up to be the full man he was going to be. But we know that he stepped into his manhood to save these children and that makes me proud," added his mother, Crystal Brooks. "It doesn't take away an ounce of pain, but it makes me proud of our son and what he sacrificed. And I'll forever hold that."
Bryce's parents described him as a "creative" child who loved music and fashion. He was very intelligent, a member of his school's fashion club, and "just made honor roll a week ago," according to his father, who spoke at the news conference.
“He was selfless, our son Bryce, while being pulled by currents himself called for help,” Alfred Brooks, his father, said. “Not for himself, but he called for help for the kids he was saving.” >> https://t.co/ieMv13C7q0 pic.twitter.com/VmAxNxY4qS— Atlanta News First (@ATLNewsFirst) April 11, 2023
The "Get Your Teach On" group started a GoFundMe for the family, and as of Wednesday, it had raised more than $82,000. "Bryce's actions helped to save several lives. We can not even begin to understand the unimaginable impact this has had on their family, friends, and loved ones but know the power of this community," organizers wrote.
They requested prayers for the couple's 6-year-old Christian "as he learns of the loss of his brother" in an update over the weekend. "Our heart breaks for him and continues to break for their entire family," they wrote.
“A family is left to mourn after a 16-year-old Georgia high schooler died trying to save several children.— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) April 10, 2023
Bryce Brooks, a junior at Maynard Jackson High School, lost his life after jumping into the ocean in Escambia County, Fla. near Pensacola[.]”
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @callmeshivy