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Handicapped citizen shoots, kills in self-defense

Originally ran here as:
"Shooting ruled self-defense"
Web posted Tuesday, May 01, 2001, 02:49 PM

NEWPORT NEWS - Investigators and the Newport News Commonwealth Attorney's office have determined that a man who shot a woman to death acted in self defense.

Renea Denise Brown, 27, died after being shot twice Jan. 13 in The Towers high-rise apartments in the city's East End.

Police say Brown tried to rob a quadriplegic. After she threatened to hit him, the man shot her.

Follow-up Report

Shooting death is ruled self-defense

By Troy Graham
Daily Press

Published here on Wednesday, May 02, 2001

NEWPORT NEWS - Renea Denise Brown was drunk and high on cocaine when she attempted to rob a man in a wheelchair in his apartment last January.

The man then shot her in self-defense, Newport News prosecutors ruled Tuesday.

Brown, 27, was killed on Jan. 13 in the man's second-floor apartment in The Towers, an East End waterfront high rise. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case remained open while detectives and prosecutors examined the man's claim that he shot Brown in self-defense. The shooter's name has not been released, but police described him as a 37-year-old with limited use of his arms and hands.

The man told police he was dumping garbage into a trash chute in the hallway of his building when Brown got off the elevator, according to Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn. Brown asked for money and the man said he didn't have any, Gwynn said.

The man then wheeled back to his apartment and Brown followed him inside and locked the door. She demanded money again, and the man again refused, Gwynn said. The man then tried to call the building's security and Brown took the phone from him, Gwynn said.

At one point, Brown wielded and threatened the man with a metal foldout chair, Gwynn said. The man then wheeled into his bedroom where he had another phone, intending to call security. He also had a gun there, which he legally owned.

When Brown came into the bedroom, the man pointed the gun at her and told her to get out. As she came toward him, the man fired twice, killing Brown.

Brown did not have a weapon when she was killed. The law concerning justifiable homicide says the actions of the shooter must appear reasonable to him under the given circumstances. Prosecutors agreed that the man thought he had no choice but to shoot.

"He was pretty much backed into a corner," Gwynn said. "If she's able to get to him, he's had it."

An autopsy performed on Brown found a high blood alcohol content and cocaine in her system.

Brown lived nearby on Aqua Vista Drive, but detectives did not find any connection between her and the man who shot her.

The shooting was the fourth death in a six-month period at The Towers. Just two days before Brown's death, police arrested 19-year-old Jessie Wright for stabbing two men to death in their Tower apartments in November 2000.

Police quickly compiled a report on the Brown shooting and turned it over to prosecutors. But Gwynn said he wanted to wait until an autopsy was completed before making a ruling.

"I didn't think a complete and thorough examination of the facts could be completed until the autopsy came back," he said. "I wanted to make sure the bullets traveled in a path that were consistent with what he said."

The autopsy, returned this week, showed that the bullets followed a direction and path that confirmed the man's story, Gwynn said.

Troy Graham can be reached at 247-4741 or by e-mail at

NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes. We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives. God Bless the Americans that publish these stories - for assisting Americans in hearing the truth.

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