SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — While driving down East 37th Street in Savannah, all may seem peaceful, perhaps with residents sitting on their front porches, doing yard work or maybe even talking with their neighbors. 

However, if the homes could speak, they may give voice to a tragedy that occurred to 15-year-old Jonah Bryant who, according to the Savannah Police Department (SPD), was a good kid and hero, that died protecting his mother and sister 22 years ago.

According to the SPD, on January 14, 2000 at 8:48 p.m. Bryant was home watching television while his mother, Brenda Bryant, and his younger sister went to the grocery store.

1300 block of East 37th Street, where Bryant was shot and killed. Photo by Hollie Lewis

When they returned from the store to their home in the 1300 block of East 37th Street,  Brenda was walking to the front door of their residence carrying her purse and groceries when an armed man stopped her at the front door.

“I kicked the man my purse, he got it and put it under his arm and kept the gun at my head while I am on the floor,” Brenda recalled. “And my son just jumped across me and he said, ‘Leave my mama alone,’ and the man shot him and ran out my front door.”

The robber shot Jonah in the heart, killing him at the scene before paramedics arrived and just one week before his 16th birthday.

Jonah was a student at Savannah High school who was active in the JROTC program and had dreams of one day joining the Army and then moving into law enforcement. 

Photo provided by the Savannah Police Department

According to the SPD, the man responsible was described as a dark-skinned black male with an average build, approximately 5’7″ to 5’9″.  He was wearing a checkerboard patterned jacket the night of the shooting, but had his face covered which has made it hard to identify him. 

SPD hopes that someone will come forward with any information, even if it’s considered unimportant as it could be that one crucial bit of information that helps them solve the case.  

Crime Stoppers of Savannah-Chatham County Executive Director  Brittany Herren said, “Crime Stoppers will issue a reward regarding any crime for which we receive a tip and an arrest is made. Cash rewards are up to $2,500 and determined by a number of factors that our board evaluates.”. 

Crime Stoppers of Savannah-Chatham County partners with citizens, law enforcement agencies and media organizations to stop and solve crime in the community by running the area’s only 24/7, anonymous tip line. The tip line serves all of Chatham County’s eight municipalities and unincorporated Chatham County, which include Savannah, Tybee Island, Pooler, Garden City, Bloomingdale, Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt, and Vernonburg

“Submitting a tip through Crime Stoppers is 100% anonymous. No one will ever know your identity, including us.”, said Herren.  “Whether you submit a tip online at SavannahChathamCrimeStoppers.org or through our 24/7, live, tip-line at 912-234-2020, you will be assigned a secret code number and we know you only by that code number. We do not track phone numbers or IP addresses. Our completely confidential service allows anyone to submit a tip without fear.”