Family speaks out after Valdosta man shoots brother - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Family speaks out after Valdosta man shoots brother

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

A man was shot to death by his own brother in Valdosta last night. Family members say the two fought often, but this time it led to death in their mother's home.

A former Valdosta Wildcat football player, United States Marine, and a father of four, Thomas Graddy, known as "TJ," was a beloved member of this family.

"He loved his family, he loved his children most of all, he was a great father. Anytime I called him and asked him to do anything he'd say, 'Mother I told you I'm coming,'" said Yevonne Graddy, both of the men's mother.

Police say the two bothers were fighting in their mother's home on Old Statenville Road at 8'clock last night. The fight escalated to gunfire. And 36-year-old TJ Graddy was killed, police say, at the hand of his own brother. 22-year-old Zebedee Hankerson is in jail on Christmas Eve accused of shooting his brother several times.

"At this point, based off the evidence we found and based off of the interviews we obtained, that Mr. Hankerson has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime," said Cmdr. Brian Childress, VPD.

Investigators didn't reveal how the fight started, but the men's uncle says it was an ongoing battle between the two that foretold the fatal ending.

"Zebedee used to come to my house and tell me, 'Uncle El, I don't like TJ and one of these days I'm going to kill TJ," said El Thomas.

The mother of Graddy's children says the loss of their father right before Christmas is the most difficult part.

"They do have the memory of last Christmas we spent together, so maybe we can hang on to some of those memories and pictures, but it's going to be very hard," said Latashia Gosier.

The men's sister says the family will not turn their backs on Hankerson.

"Nobody's family is perfect, we are not perfect at all, and he is not a monster, he is my little brother and we will continue to love him," said Tara Brown.

Graddy leaves behind ten brothers and sisters, his mother and father, and his four children.

Hankerson is booked in the Lowndes County Jail.

Graddy's funeral will be this Saturday at Mt. Ararat Missionary Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Lake Park Road in Valdosta.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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