The new Dallas police chief faces one of the worst tragedies that could befall a law enforcement officer: living with the knowledge that his dead son was a cop killer.
Just seven weeks after being sworn in as new leader of the Dallas police force, David Brown learned on Father's Day that his 27-year-old son had gunned down a suburban officer in a weekend shootout.
On Tuesday, Dallas' top cop issued an email to his department about the incident.
To the Members of the Dallas Police Department:
The past few days have been very troubling and emotional for all of us. My family has not only lost a son, but a fellow police officer and a private citizen lost their lives at the hands of our son. That hurts so deeply I can not adequately express the sadness I feel inside my heart.
My deepest sympathy goes out to Officer Craig Shaw’s family, the Lancaster police Department and to the citizens that he was attempting to protect. I also want to express my sympathy to the family of Jeremy McMillian. I have reached out to both families. I pray that both families find comfort from their faith, family and friends during this difficult time.
As police officers we reach out everyday to people who need our help and guidance. It makes me proud to stand with you side by side and be part of such a recognized and accomplished police force. Public support and confidence in our department is strong and extends from the Mayor’s office and City Council offices to the City Manager’s office, and most importantly to the citizens we serve. This support derives from a variety of sources but none more important than the hard work performed daily by the men and women of this department. As you go about your daily duties protecting the citizens of Dallas, please be mindful of your surroundings and look out for one another.
I want to thank the many people who have emailed me or tried to call me. I have not been able to return your messages but I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers. I know many people are praying for my family and me and that gives me enormous comfort.
God bless you and your families and the citizens of Dallas.
Chief David Brown
Dallas Police Department
Brown hasn't spoken publicly since issuing a short statement Sunday. But William Rathburn served as Dallas police chief from 1991 to 1993. In his opinion, "This ... is the worst possible personal tragedy any chief of police could have."
Brown's son, David Brown Jr., had a minor criminal record, pleading no contest to misdemeanor delivery of marijuana in 2004 after originally being charged with a felony.
Even before the shootings, the elder Brown knew tragic loss well. In 1988, his former police partner and academy classmate Walter Williams was fatally shot in the line of duty. His younger brother, Kelvin Brown, was killed three years later by drug dealers in Arizona.
Now the 49-year-old Brown confronts this latest tragedy less than two months after being promoted to the job he pursued for his entire career.
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