Memorial for Vancleave man found on beach - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Memorial for Vancleave man found on beach

Gunner Batia (Photo source: Facebook) Gunner Batia (Photo source: Facebook)
Gunner Batia's social media accounts are filled with pictures of him enjoying the outdoors fishing. (Photo source: Facebook) Gunner Batia's social media accounts are filled with pictures of him enjoying the outdoors fishing. (Photo source: Facebook)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Family and friends of Gunner Batia gathered on the beach in Biloxi on Monday evening to remember the Vancleave man who lost his life while fishing over the weekend. The memorial took place at the water's edge near St. George Ave. where Batia's body was found. 

"A lot of people ask what they can do," Batia's aunt, Tina Weaver said. "We appreciate the support and prayers, please keep praying for our family."

Officials said the 20-year-old was wearing fishing waders that filled with water, causing him to drown. 

The tragic death was ruled an accident. Batia's brother told WLOX News Now that Gunner had a history of seizures, and nearly drowned a few months ago when he had a seizure while fishing. 

"If you could choose a way to go, if you knew tomorrow that you were going to die, I feel certain that Gunner would have chosen to go doing what he loved and he did," Weaver said. 

"We brought a Bluetooth radio on the bus and we'd have the whole bus singing country music. We called it the country choir," Jeffrey Thompson recalled. 

"The outpouring of support has been amazing, I want to tell everyone, thank you so much," Batia's mother, Angie Hart said

Gunner attended both Vancleave and St. Martin high schools. He graduated from St. Martin in 2015. He leaves behind a 19-month-old son, Hayden.

Gunner's friends are planning a benefit ride to help raise money for his funeral expenses. That event is scheduled to take place June 10th in Perkinston. The family has also set up a GoFundMe account

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