Brother: Teen victim in Columbia shooting 'was my other half'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 | 12:04 a.m. CDT; updated 4:17 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 10, 2012
From left, Bryan Rankin, Brandon Rankin and Bryan Rankin Sr. relax with younger family members in their laps. Bryan Rankin was the victim of a fatal shooting Saturday morning.

COLUMBIA — Bryan "Phatman" Rankin routinely picked up his brother Brandon, and the two would go shopping together when Rankin got his paycheck from working at McDonald's.

This upcoming check was going toward buying each brother a pair of black Vans shoes with red, yellow and green Jamaican stripes.


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But Bryan, 17,  isn't coming to pick up Brandon, 15, anymore.

Rankin was the victim of a fatal shooting early Saturday after returning to a party on West Sugar Tree Lane. 

"He was my other half," Brandon said. "We were together all the time."

A rack of pants and multiple Hollister shirts still hang neatly in Bryan's closet.

"I can't bring myself to take them down," Bryan's father, Bryan Rankin Sr. said. "It would be like making his killing worse."

The Columbia Police Department said Bryan was a part of a gang called Hollister Company Boys, or HCO Boyz, but stopped short of calling the shooting gang-related. Family, friends and other students have said HCO Boyz were never a gang, just a group of friends who all wore clothes from Hollister.

Saturday morning

Douglass High School sophomore Talia Murray, 16, said she was at the party that night and that Bryan had left to drop off some friends who were on curfew.

When he came back and stepped out of the car 10 to 15 people circled him, Murray said. She and a friend yelled for him to get back into the car. But Brandon Rankin was out and ready to protect his brother. 

While sitting in the car, she said one teen punched Bryan Rankin in the face. Then another shot him in the stomach.

Murray said she was on the other side of Rankin’s car, trying to get in the back seat on the passenger side, when he was shot. With the driver's door still open, Brandon Rankin said his brother drove off a few feet, said "I can't drive," and passed out. 

Brandon Rankin, Murray and another friend drove Bryan Rankin to Women's and Children's Hospital, missing a few turns along the way.

"I told them, 'We can't let him die. We can't let him die,'" Brandon said. As he was holding his brother's wound, Brandon Rankin helped carry him into the hospital. Then Brandon called his mother, Laura Rankin.

His parents were watching TV, awake later than normal, when Rankin called.

"I hoped it was a mistake," Bryan Rankin Sr. said.

Later that morning, Bryan Rankin was transferred to University Hospital, where he died from a gunshot wound. A 15-year-old was later arrested at a residence on Gregory Drive on suspicion of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

The aftermath

Columbia police spokeswoman Jill Schlude said the incident is under investigation.

"Other than the fact that we know there was a party and a disturbance, we are not releasing any additional information at this time," she said.

The neighborhood of Gregory Heights, where the suspect was arrested, has been troubled recently.

Detective Tom O’Sullivan of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the area has been targeted for proactive patrols since early this year.

So far in 2012, there have been 53 calls for service in the neighborhood, according to the department’s daily incident log. Twelve calls were in response to disturbances, two regarded child abuse, two calls were for assault and there was one shots-fired report.

A lockdown at Rock Bridge High School on Monday morning might be related to the incident. The school was sealed for safety after a student received a threatening text message on a mobile phone.

The message "caused some alarm under the given circumstances," which led to the school's action, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

"Tensions are high," Baumstark said. The lockdown was lifted shortly after 11 a.m.

The shooting this weekend notwithstanding, a lockdown is the usual protocol when a student is threatened, she said.

Baumstark could not confirm what the text message said, or whether the sender had been identified. Rankin had been a student at Rock Bridge until about seven months ago.

Bryan Rankin's half-brother, Zachariah Peterson, recently faced a second-degree murder conviction, and Peterson had feared retaliation. But Rankin's family does not believe the shooting had anything to do with that.

Rankin was listed as the CEO of HCO Boyz on his Facebook page, which is consistent with Columbia Police Department information, Schlude said.

Friends dispute the gang relationship. Katie Wilson, 16, said she knows most of the teens who identify as HCO Boyz and was at the party that night. They are a group of 10 or so friends who always wore Hollister clothing and were given the nickname, she said.

Timmy Midgyett, 17, who lives on the 5900 block of Gregory Heights where the suspect was arrested, also said the teens in HCO Boyz were connected only because of their clothing.

"HCO Boyz is a group," Brandon Rankin said. "It's nothing gang-related. People just thought it was."

Bryan's aunt Sheila Rankin agrees.

"The only gang he was in was this gang right here. Family, that's it."

"At least he had his last moments with me," Brandon Rankin said. "But I don't want any last moments. I want my brother back."

Jon McClure and Teresa Klassen contributed to this story.

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Sally Willis April 10, 2012 | 8:28 a.m.

Well his friends should know what they are talking about! My friend is a federal probation and parole officer (meaning she works with murders and rapists and has worked with actual Hollister gang members). Hollister Boyz is a gang and it does not start because you wear Hollister clothing it's is a gang that originated from young boys in Hollister California!

(Report Comment)
Ariyawn Nash April 10, 2012 | 9:37 a.m.

I know I didn't know him at all. But, i know Brandon and Bryan didn't have to get killed like that. He shouldn't have got killed at all. Brandon I got your back no matter what bro. (:

#R.I.P. Bryan *Phatman* Rankin

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 10, 2012 | 10:13 a.m.

It's a shame we are loosing our youth like this! Don't they see what they are doing to each other? These killers will have to live with the fact that they took another life for as long as they live! They might think this makes them hard now but years down the road...

(Report Comment)
Melissa Turner April 10, 2012 | 3:51 p.m.

This isn't CA, and they aren't a real gang. Heck my daughter is the CEO of Hollister too...and she's on the honor roll and 13. LOL Guess she's in a gang as well?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 11, 2012 | 11:36 a.m.

Oh my goodness Miss Melissa Turner you must be right! Where was my head there can't be any gangs here in Columbia Missouri! And this boy who was shot and killed along with all the other crime activity that's been going on lately has no link to gang activity either! Oh heck no because your thirteen year old daughter, by golly I'm sure is an angel because of her link with Hollister :) Oh and did you read the artical on teen pregnancy we are # 20!

(Report Comment)
Melissa Turner April 11, 2012 | 1:05 p.m.

I'm just making a point Miss Sally Willis. You do not know me or my daughter or this young man who is dead.....nor do you have any clue about teenage fashion. Just because his profile says he is the CEO of Hollister Boys doesn't mean that he is a gang leader, nor member. That's all I was saying. And yes my little angel who wears nothing but Hollister is a good girl. You insinuating that she is anything less is crass and very childish my dear. There are gangs in Columbia, HCO Boys isn't one of them, and anyone who has watched the news and followed this story knows that Mr. Rankin and the other young man had a long standing fued over something petty. Not gang related:)

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 11, 2012 | 3:02 p.m.

"Mr. Rankin and the other young man had a long standing fued over something petty." And now in the 2000s kids pull out firearms and shoot one another. Something not thought of or heard about before 1960s. I wonder, what could have happened during those ensuing years?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 11, 2012 | 3:22 p.m.

Melissa I was telling you the history of the name of the Hollister Boyz the name these kids adapted you decided it was a joke! I'm pissed this is not a joke to me our youth are killing eachother! If you think it's funny I'm sorry, I don't see the humor. This town is my home for myself and my children, so don't act like this is not an issue for me! I want something to change. And it wasn't between these two boys if you were following the facts you would know this boy was attacked but several and even punched then shot so that's gang activity lady!

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 11, 2012 | 3:48 p.m.

I am with you on this one Sally. I posted on another piece about this that I was extremely dissapointed that they are not charging the rest of the kids especially the one that threw a punch in this case. You don't need to be an OG to be bangin'. Just because you aren't organized to the point that you have a defined "territory", doesn't mean we need to wait until you do to call you a gang and charge you with gang related activities. Ask the cut throats how cool it is to be an unorganized gang, but a gang in the eyes of the law, nonetheless. The law's definition of a gang is the only one that counts. If these kids hang together and jump people together, they are a gang no matter what clothes they wear. If you think jumping people and killing someone is funny, you can laugh all the way to the pen or the grave...

(Report Comment)
Melissa Turner April 12, 2012 | 12:02 p.m.

Lady your exclamation points are as annoying as your comments. We are ALL MAD. Any parent who has a child in this town is scared and sick of this crap going on in our city. BUT as a parent I am also sick of everyone saying that these kids who wear Hollister all belong to a gang. If thats the case then every single child at Smithton Middle School is a gang member. If you aren't smart enough to read what I posted, refrain from commenting. And the humor I found was in your comment. Not the situation at hand. FYI this town has been home for 4 generations of my family, the first settled here in the 1800's. I have watched it slowly go down the toilet with the rest of you. And Im just as sick as the rest of you. I just don't make accusations and presumptions about a person based on the clothing they wear!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 12, 2012 | 12:44 p.m.

When the police spokesperson calls it a "gang" then what am I to believe?
Perhaps this murder was just fall out from the fashion wars?
I think they call it a fashion assassination.
No surprise that a gang suddenly doesn't want to be a gang when they're outed by "the man."
Maybe teens need to be a little smarter about drawing this kind of negative attention to themselves on facebook.
By the way, I'm the CEO of the Levi Strauss brigade.
It's in my genes.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 1:23 p.m.

Melissa I would think as mothers we would take this more to heart. So many parents have problems have seeing when their children are involved in illicit activity until it's too late. When the police first named the Hollister boyz as a gang in Columbia and having gang related ties I would have thought parents would have had a serious sit down with their children at that point not lol'ed it off BUT I guess that's where our parenting styles differ! J.S.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis April 12, 2012 | 1:28 p.m.

And no one said because a person wears Hollister clothing they are in a gang. It's when they identify themselves as the CEO of the HOLLISTER BOYZ that's when they are being associated with the gang. Maybe it's you who should be reading the comments a little more carefully.

(Report Comment)
Megan Jasper April 18, 2012 | 2:01 p.m.

Look, Sally and Melissa, Do you really think it is appropriate to be arguing over this , like this? Im not dogging on either of you, but I have a friend who was really good friends with Bryan and he is messed up over this. and if I were him I would be upset to see your conversation. Whether or not the boys were in a gang should matter, it is a sad loss and NEITHER OF YOU have the right to make it anything other than it is.

(Report Comment)

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