DPD Chief Brown, 98 Days on the Job

On his son's death: "I regret all of it"

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Tuesday, Aug 10, 2010  |  Updated 11:03 PM CDT
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<a title=Dallas Police Chief David Brown talks about the shooting death of his son after he shot and killed two men, including a Lancaster police officer. The personal tragedy and professional challenge came only seven weeks after Brown became chief." />

Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

Dallas Police Chief David Brown talks about the shooting death of his son after he shot and killed two men, including a Lancaster police officer. The personal tragedy and professional challenge came only seven weeks after Brown became chief.

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Dallas Police Chief David Brown has been on the job for 98 days.

So far, it's been a tenure filled with tragedy and controversy, as well as success. After only seven weeks in the top job, he was hit with a personal tragedy and professional challenge like no other.

Brown spoke in an exclusive interview in which no subject was off-limits. Below are clips from the one-on-one interview without any edits:

It was Fathers Day. Brown said he was supposed to have dinner with his son that night but never heard from him.

"The later it got, the more worried I got, and then, finally, one of my relatives called and said, 'That looks like his car on the news,'" he said.

Autopsy results later revealed that his son, David Brown Jr., had PCP, marijuana and alcohol in his system when he went on a shooting rampage, killing new father Jeremy McMillan and responding Lancaster police Officer Craig Shaw.

Officers were called to Brown Jr.'s apartment twice that day. The first time, Lancaster's police chief left David Brown Sr. a voicemail as a courtesy.

"The chief in Lancaster tried to call me," he said. "I was at church, and I never answer my phone when I'm in church. When I got out of church, I listened to the voicemail."

Brown never returned the call.

"Because of the circumstances, I did not want to return the call, because I didn't want to have any influence over Lancaster making a decision about my son because of my conversation with their chief," he said.

It's a decision that will haunt the 49-year-old husband, father and police chief for the rest of his life.

"I regret that he, Officer Shaw, is deceased at the hands of my son," he said. "I regret Mr. McMillan is deceased at the hands of my son. I regret that my son had to lose his life in a violent shooting. Yes, I regret all of it."

Brown credits his Christian faith and the support of the community for giving him the strength to return to work.

"I don't know where you draw the lines on the Bible Belt, but here in Dallas, but the prayers from citizens have just been enormous for me and my family," he said.

As for critics who have questioned if Brown is still fit to lead the force of 3,600, Brown had this to say: "Watch and see. I'm performing now, and I suspect that I will be successful."

Since Brown was sworn in on May 4, overall crime in the city has gone down every month when compared to last year. As of Tuesday, it's down 7 percent, and the homicide rate is at a historic low.

"There are bright days ahead for this department, and I don't expect the tragedy in Lancaster to deter us from being successful," Brown said.

When asked about the controversial motorcade that was ordered to escort his son's funeral procession, Brown said he had no knowledge of the order at the time.

"I remember closing my son's casket in the church, I remember sitting at the burial site, and everything else is a blur," he said.

Brown said he welcomes an investigation into the matter.

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