Handicapped citizen shoots,
kills in self-defense
Originally ran here
"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.
Shooting death is ruled self-defense
By Troy Graham
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
Troy Graham can be reached at 247-4741 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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