TALLADEGA -- The deadly shooting the day before Thanksgiving in front of the Talladega Walmart also left at least one, and possibly two, survivors.
Eugene Benjamin Weathers, 48, and Brianna Post, 24, were both pronounced dead at the scene. An alleged second victim, Lydia Sellers, got out of the car at the Chevron Station across the street from the Walmart, apparently before the shooting started, Lydia’s mother told The Daily Home on Thursday night.
Lydia reportedly told her mother, Tammy, there had also been a third woman in the car earlier that night. Lydia Sellers said the third woman had been dumped out on Alabama 21 after being sexually assaulted by Weathers.
The case remains under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, but what is known so far is that Talladega police got a call from the Chevron Station about an abduction after 4 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21.
A nearby patrol car made contact with the suspect vehicle almost immediately, and a male subject fired on the responding officers. The police officers shot and killed Weathers, of Anniston. Inside the car, Post, also of Anniston, was found dead of a gunshot wound, although the SBI has not commented on whether Weathers’ weapon was the one that killed her.
Weathers shot one of the officers, who was airlifted to University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. He has since been released.
A second officer was injured but not shot and transported by ambulance to Brookwood Baptist Health Center/Citizens Baptist Medical Center, where he was also treated and released.
Tammy Sellers confirmed her daughter, Lydia Sellers, 23, of Saks, was also in the car before the shooting took place but got out at the Chevron, where she called her mother. Lydia was not directly available for comment Thursday but posted a lengthy comment on Facebook the Sunday after the incident.
“Brianna Post was a dear friend to me,” she wrote. “I cherished her more than most in my life, and never in a million years would I intentionally put her in harm’s way. I regret not laying down my life for her the other night, I truly do, but I can’t turn back the hands of time, no matter how hard I try. We both made mistakes that night, we both made some not good decisions that night, and we both went through that together … She just didn’t make it out, and for that I hate myself …”
She wrote that she was allowed to get out of the car at the Chevron while she and Post were being held at gunpoint.
“I had to make a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she said. “The store clerk, who just seen this crazy looking, beat up girl with no shoes or jacket on and tears streaming down her face come into his store clearly terrified (and he) asked me what was wrong, so I told him, and he helped me make the decision to call for help and stay in the store with him. At this point, I was in complete shock, traumatized and terrified because (a) man I trusted, a man that had never been anything but gentle towards me has harmed me and (is) acting like a monster.”
Tammy Sellers, Lydia’s mother, said she got a call from her daughter at “four something, and she was whispering ‘I need help,’ and that she thought her friend might be dead.
“Then I heard a man’s voice, and it sounded like she dropped the phone and it went dead. She called back about two minutes later. She was scared, she said it was really bad and that she was afraid her friend was dead.
“I know she’s been in some bad things before, but I never really thought anyone was dead.”
Tammy Sellers got a third phone call from Lydia a few minutes later, this time on a borrowed cellphone from McDonald’s.
“The phone belonged to a woman who apparently knew me and recognized Lydia, but I never found out who it was,” Tammy said.
Lydia locked herself in the bathroom at McDonald’s and waited for her mother to come pick her up.
“I picked her up from the scene of the crime, but I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time,” Tammy Sellers said. “I saw all the blue lights when I pulled up. I parked, went into the bathroom, called her name and then I took her home.”
According to Lydia’s Facebook narrative, “While hysterically crying on the phone in the back of the store, I see the police pull up at Wal-Mart and all of the sudden I hear a whole bunch of gun shots. I didn’t know what happened, but I knew it had to be bad. No, I didn’t wait on the police right then, but I have a couple of warrants and damn, I was beat up, I was traumatized and afraid for my friend’s life and wanted to be at home safe and sound with my family for the night. I did call them the next day, and I spoke with them and gave them the entire story with no detail forgotten.”
Tammy Sellers said her daughter told her there were initially three people with Weathers in the car, including Lydia, Brianna Post and a third woman, possibly in her early 40s.
“The older woman was raped and sodomized and then dumped out for dead on the side of (Alabama 21) around Munford,” Tammy Sellers said. Lydia’s cellphone was also tossed out here, she said. The calls from Lydia were from the land line at the Chevron.
“Lydia was pistol whipped, had her eyes blacked,” she said. “He told her to drive, and she said she was just trying to stay alive. She got her chance to run and she did. If she hadn’t, she would probably be dead, too.”
Tammy Sellers said she knew Brianna Post only slightly and did not know Weathers at all, although she said her daughter and Weathers’ nephew might have been involved at some point.
“I don’t know why this happened,” she said. “I know I told Lydia that she did what she had to do to stay alive, that none of this is her fault. But it’s a horrible thing to have to go through. It’s harrowing to hear your child’s name involved in something like this. It’s something you think will never happen, it’s just unimaginable.”
In her Facebook post, Lydia said: “I did everything I knew how to do that night, and I held her (Post’s) hand the whole ride until I got out at the store and I begged him (Weathers) not to do what he did. I tried everything in the book to calm him down and talk him out of doing what he was doing but nothing I said could or did worked. I can’t change that … There is no explanation for what went on, and I have no logical answer to why he decided to do what he did on that particular night …”
SBI spokesman Lt. Jon Riley said he could not comment on a pending investigation, up to and including the presence of Lydia Sellers and the third victim.