Teen arrested in city killing

Shooting victim, 21, is remembered as `a good kid,' leader

August 14, 2007|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

On the basketball court Jordan Brown was known for passing the ball to teammates, leading his Baltimore County high school in assists, according to his coach.

In the years after graduation, a love for basketball still dominated his life - playing, watching, hanging around the game wherever he could.

Yesterday, as police announced the arrest of the man they believe responsible for killing Brown in West Baltimore, friends and relatives continued to remember a young man they knew as a leader on the court and off it.

"He was a good kid," said his aunt, Videtta Brown, a prosecutor who heads the city's domestic violence unit. "It is difficult for anyone who loses a child at such a young age. His best trait was his smile."

On July 30, Brown, 21, had watched a game with his oldest brother at a downtown gym and was returning home when he was shot in the neck. Frantic friends drove for help, finding assistance with the police officers stationed in front of Mayor Sheila Dixon's West Baltimore home.

Brown died the next day at Sinai Hospital, never aware of the hundreds of friends who flocked there in support.

Police spokesmen have refused to discuss a possible motive for the killing. But yesterday, officers arrested Tevon Allen, 18, who lived in the same West Baltimore neighborhood as Brown. A news release stated that Allen was charged in a warrant with killing Brown.

Court records show that Allen was briefly banned from the area. His mother, Verdardine Allen, told a District Court judge that her son was "threatening to have someone hurt me" and "telling [me] he don't want to hear what I say to him," according to her handwritten account in court records.

A judge granted a temporary ex parte order, and days later Allen was charged with violating it. That case was placed on the court's "stet" docket and made inactive. Verdarine Allen did not attend a scheduled court hearing, so the ex parte order was never made permanent, according to records.

Brown's aunt, the prosecutor, was relieved that an arrest had been made but did not want to focus on it yesterday.

"They could have caught the person the day after, or the year after, but Jordan won't be any less dead," Videtta Brown said. "I can't spend my time being caught up with what is happening with the trial. I just want to make sure Jordan's memory is preserved."

Brown grew up in Woodlawn with his parents. His father, Robert Brown, was a city firefighter until his death in 2004. His mother worked until last year in the narcotics division at the city state's attorney's office. She declined to be interviewed.

While at Woodlawn High School, Brown played football and basketball and was frequently mentioned in The Sun's high school sports pages.

Eddie Green, his basketball coach, said Brown started all four years and was an unselfish player.

"He was a leader," Green said. "He led by example."

During Brown's senior year, the football team, which included four basketball starters, was winning, and postseason games threatened to eat into basketball training.

Brown took charge of the players and organized extra basketball practices in between football games. "He definitely kept the group together," Green said. "It could have really hurt us."

Green said that he is organizing a charity basketball game Saturday at the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County to raise money for a scholarship fund that the family established.

Brown graduated from Woodlawn in 2004 and started at the Catonsville campus, according to his family. But the death of his father that August affected Brown's first year. His grades slipped, he lost his basketball scholarship and dropped out, said Sterling Brown, his older brother.

He said Jordan Brown worked at several local stores, but spent most of his time with him. "I think we were closer than any brother could ever be to another brother," Sterling Brown said.

"We never argued," he said. "We've never fought our whole life. When you saw me, you saw him."

In January, Brown's maternal grandmother became ill, and he and his mother moved to the grandmother's house in the 4500 block of Rokeby Road.

Brown quickly became friends with an older woman who lived across the street, and every Thursday, he would drive her to the hair salon, the market or any doctor's appointment. "I called it his secret Thursdays because nobody knew about it," said Videtta Brown. "He didn't tell me."

Over the summer, Sterling Brown, 27, warned his younger brother and his friends about violence in the city. "We talked about how they have to watch themselves out there and how their age group are the wildest people," he said. "We all just had that discussion."

On July 30, Brown, his brother, Sterling, and several friends watched a basketball game at a gym in downtown Baltimore.

Later that night, Brown was driving in his neighborhood with two of his best friends from high school. They were about a block away from Brown's house - at Rokeby Road and Swann Avenue - when he was shot.

As the family gathered at the hospital, they learned that Brown had signed up to be an organ donor. Brown's aunt said that seven people have benefited from transplants.

Because Brown's mother and aunt worked for the state's attorney's office, he was well-known to the lawyers there. The city's top prosecutor, Patricia C. Jessamy, spoke at his funeral.

"I don't blame the guy who did it," said Sterling Brown. "I blame his siblings. The people who should be guiding these kids aren't."

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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