TAMPA — Brittany Lanier got the phone call about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
"Your brother got shot in the head," the caller said.
Lanier, 24, loaded the car up and made the 10-minute drive to her mother's apartment near Ybor City, where Wayne Lanier, 21, lived. She prepared herself to be the strong one, to help her mother and grandmother mourn, and started working on the question no one could answer hours later.
Why Wayne? Why her quiet, shy brother?
Lanier was at Hollywood Nites strip club Friday, according to Tampa police, when a fight broke out just after 2 a.m. Security guards made everyone leave, and in the minutes after the club at 3003 N Howard Ave. emptied, shots were fired. Lanier was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died, according to police, while Omar R. Bacon, 26, was treated at Saint Joseph's Hospital and released.
Police did not indicate if Lanier and Bacon were involved in the fight, or just bystanders. No arrest had been made late Saturday, and the investigation continued. No one answered the door at Bacon's Brandon apartment Saturday evening.
Brittany Lanier said her brother could not have been the one fighting. The youngest of three, and the only boy, Wayne Lanier was chronically shy as a boy, a trait he did not lose in adulthood, she said. She said he spent most of his days talking to his grandmother and looking for work, Brittany said. Wayne worked weekends doing landscaping with his stepfather. His girlfriend is five months pregnant with their first child, and they just found out it will be a boy, the sister said.
Wayne doted on his nieces, Brittany said. He regularly picked Brittany's 3-year-old daughter up from school and took her to the store for ice cream, and regularly Skyped with his other niece, who lives in Kansas City, Mo.
"He was going to be a really good father, who smothered his baby," she said Saturday. "He was a good person."
Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: An earlier version of this article reported an incorrect address for the Hollywood Nites club.