(DALLAS) — Dallas Police Chief David Brown Sr. is no stranger to tragedy.
Before five police officers were killed and seven more were injured in a deadly Dallas shooting spree last night, Brown Sr., a 30-year veteran and a Dallas native, had already lost his former police partner, his younger brother and his own son to gun violence.
On August 2, 1988, his longtime partner, Officer Walter Williams, was investigating a disturbance when the 47-year-old Williams was ambushed and shot in the head with a .22 caliber handgun. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, “responding officers returned fire, killing the subject.”
Less than three years later, on July 3, 1991, Brown Sr. lost his younger brother, Kelvin Brown, after Kelvin was killed in the Phoenix area by drug dealers. According to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s office, Kelvin’s “immediate cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head” and his death was ruled a homicide.
In a profile with the Dallas Morning News, which described him as a “private man” who is “introspective and intense,” Brown Sr. wrestled with whether his brother’s death affected his professional life.
“I can’t deny that’s a part of who I am,” Brown told the Dallas newspaper in May 2010. “The families of victims, I know what they go through. My family had to go through that. But does it make me police in a different manner or lead in a different manner? I’m not sure.”
Just a few weeks after that interview, Brown faced yet another personal loss — this time, his 27-year-old son, David Brown Jr., who died after shooting and killing a police officer during a domestic disturbance.
Fifteen miles south of Dallas, in Lancaster, Texas, police answered a “shooting in progress” call, Lancaster Police Chief Keith Humphrey told ABC News in 2010.
“Officers responded to the apartment complex and started looking for the shooter,” Kim Leach, a Dallas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, told ABC News Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV in 2010. “At the time, the suspect turned and shot one of the officers, killing him. Another officer returned fire at the suspect and shot and killed him.”
Ultimately, the suspect turned out to be Brown’s son. According to a sheriff’s department report on the incident, Brown Jr. suffered bipolar disorder and was abusing drugs before the June shootout that left Lancaster Officer Craig Shaw dead.
Brown Jr., who had a criminal record and spent two months in jail after being arrested in 2003 for selling marijuana, left behind a child.
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